You’ve completed your resumé. Now it’s time to decide how to send it to the employer.
The employer may ask for resumés as:
Follow the format the employer wants because it shows you can follow directions. Otherwise, your resumé could meet an untimely end with a shredder or delete button. Here are the format choices:
- Use standard word processing software, such as Microsoft Word. Most employers will have standard software. If you’re not sure, ask the employer. Or send your documents in a portable document format (PDF).
- Make sure the document is not password protected.
- Keep underlines, graphics, and italics to a minimum. This prevents problems if the resumé is uploaded into an applicant software management system. Or use a PDF version.
- Always send your resumé as an attachment. It should never go in the body of your email.
- Remember to include your cover letter. You can send it in the body of the email as a way to introduce yourself. Or attach it with your resumé.
- Before sending, make sure both your resumé and your cover letter are included.
- Use good quality, 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
- Make sure all copies are clean and bright.
- Use white or buff paper. Avoid coloured or textured paper.
- Paper clip, rather than staple, the pages together.
- Don’t bind your resumé unless the employer requests it.
- Don’t fold your resumé.
- Mail your resumé in a 9 x 12-inch envelope.
- Fax the original in fine mode, if possible.
- Keep underlines, graphics, and italics to a minimum in case the resumé is scanned into an applicant software management system.
- Send your resumé with a cover letter.
Formatting your resumé as a plain text document
ASCII (American Standard Code of Information Interchange), also known as plain text, is so basic it can be read by every operating system:
- You can cut and paste from an ASCII resumé directly into many online application forms.
- You can upload your ASCII resumé to employer and job search websites.
- Use standard fonts such as Times, Arial, or Courier.
- Don’t use graphics, shading, tabs, or columns.
- Avoid bolds, underlines, and italics.
- Use asterisks rather than bullets.
- Align the text to the left margin.
- Save a copy of your resumé document by renaming the copy and use the save as function to save it as plain text (.txt).
See a sample of an ASCII resumé [pdf].
Many employers consider resumés in other formats, such as DVDs, CDs, videos, and websites, as non-standard. They won’t visit a website, click through a menu, or wait for a download to look at your resumé. It’s best to send your resumé in a familiar format that’s easy to access.
Sometimes, a creative field such as marketing, web design, or communications may give you more leeway. If you think another format is the best way to present yourself, consider these tips:
- Talk to people in your industry. Ask for their advice.
- Submit your resumé in a standard format and include your other format as part of your portfolio.
- Avoid using your image in the resumé unless you’re in a field such as broadcasting. Because of human rights concerns, many Alberta employers prefer to assess you without knowing details about your gender, age, race, and so on.