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Submitting a résumé online? Here's what you need to know

November 05, 2009

The Internet has become a popular and important point of connection for employers and job seekers. Companies looking to fill vacancies post job ads on their own websites and also on the big online job boards. And those seeking work often do so from the comfort of their computer.

Whether you are conducting an Internet search for a job or knocking on doors, some things never change: Your résumé should be a snapshot of you and your accomplishments. It typically includes standard sections on career history, education, community involvement, and a summary of your skills that pertain to the job you are looking for.

But although the standards of content and good writing still apply for e- résumés, there are some things that are different in the online world. For instance, form and presentation do count, but not as much as when you submit a résumé on paper. Here are some tips to create an online-friendly résumé.

Carefully read the submission guidelines. If the company you are contacting asks that résumés appear in the body of your email message, don’t send an attachment. And when you include your résumé in your email, be sure to strip out all formatting to ensure a clear, legible transmission. That means no bold face, italics, underlining, or bullets (use dashes instead of bullets).

That’s why it’s a good idea to keep two copies of your résumé: One designed for online submissions and the other for paper printouts. The hard-copy version should be formatted to stand out from all the others and look professional. If you are selected for an interview, make sure to bring several paper copies along.

Make your attachment readable. If the submission guidelines direct you to submit your résumé as an attachment, choose an easy-to-read online font, such as Arial. And make sure the résumé file is a Word document.

Clearly name your résumé attachment. Be sure that you take the time to carefully name your attached Word document. “2009 Résumé” may be the name on your hard drive, but it’s not going to stand out among hundreds of others. Consider using your name, or some combination of date, job title, and your initials. If in doubt, ask the company for its preferences.

Make it easy for your recruiters. Recruiters are busy people, so you should do all that you can to make their job easier. For instance, when listing your experience, don’t provide a link to companies you worked at. It takes the recruiter away from your résumé and demonstrates a lack of ability to summarize.

Use keywords. If you’re applying to a big company, your résumé may be put through an online program that screens for key attributes. That means you should pay extra attention to the job description. If words like articulate, creative, deadline-oriented, decisive, enthusiastic, proactive, results-oriented, and team-oriented figure prominently in the job description, they should also appear in your résumé and your cover letter.

These are just some ideas to help you in your job search. The Internet is evolving constantly, so it pays to stay on top of the trends.