by Darlene Zambruski, CPRW, SME
Although computers have simplified document creation and delivery (at least most of the time), there are some basic formatting rules to follow so that the document you see on your computer screen will look the same on the potential employer’s PC.
1. IF YOU’RE SENDING YOUR RESUME AS AN ATTACHMENT:
The most basic rule to follow is to choose a font that is universal on all PCs and Macs, rather than one of the more stylish designer fonts. The reason for this is simple – not all computers have all fonts. In fact, many have only a few (this would include the universal Times New Roman or Arial). Therefore, when a document with designer fonts is downloaded onto an individual’s computer that doesn’t have those fonts, another will be substituted. The font may be far larger or smaller than the one originally chosen. This, of course, throws off formatting, creating a document that’s two pages (when it should be one), or three (when it should be two). To avoid this, always use Times New Roman or Arial to maintain formatting.
If your document absolutely requires a designer font because you’re in an artistic field (eg: graphic designer, artist, writer, etc.), then you can create an Adobe PDF of the document. It will transmit beautifully to any computer – however, keep in mind that an Adobe Reader is needed to view the document. If the potential employer doesn’t have one on the company computer, your beautiful document will come up as code.
2. IF THE PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYER WON’T ACCEPT ATTACHMENTS BECAUSE OF THE THREAT OF VIRUSES:
In this case your only choice would be to provide an ascii/txt resume, which you’ll paste into the body of your email.
What is an ascii/txt resume?
It’s your Word resume, converted to a non-formatted layout. That is, all text is flush left with no italics, no bolding, and no underscoring. Instead of bullets, asterisks (*) are used.
For example, a portion of a Word resume might look like this:
CUSTOMER CARE REPRESENTATIVE, Taylor’s, Lawrenceville, New Jersey 2002-Present
- Manage 14 major trade accounts, including EDI orders, and online store information for 200+ titles.
- Process inclusion and major trade credits; acquire proof of delivery for all major trade shipments.
- Conduct weekly inventory and provide backorder adjustments.
- Provide phone/customer support for CyberEdit.com; handle all e-mail support for various divisions.
That same information converted to ascii/txt would look like this:
CUSTOMER CARE REPRESENTATIVE, Taylor’s, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, 2002-Present
* Manage 14 major trade accounts, including EDI orders, and online store information for 200+ titles.
* Process inclusion and major trade credits; acquire proof of delivery for all major trade shipments.
* Conduct weekly inventory and provide backorder adjustments.
* Provide phone/customer support for CyberEdit.com; handle all e-mail support for various divisions.
To convert to ascii/txt simply save your Word document as Plain Text, then go to “Start” “Run” “Notepad”, then wherever you saved the document on your computer. Once it’s on your screen, clean up the formatting by taking out unnecessary spaces. That’s all there is to it.