II. Net Basics
say a resume is nothing more than a piece of paper, and it won't get you
a job. Ha! After being on both the hiring and the hired ends, I can tell
you resumes matter quite a bit. I study them hard when I get them, and
I'm ever so happy when an applicant has one online or can e-mail it directly.
Electro-compatibility.You probably have a resume stored on your computer already, but it may be in a funky format that doesn't jive with an employer's system -- the whole Mac vs. PC thing. So while you want to maintain a version composed with your favorite program, you should also have a few copies at hand that will open on other machines.
RTF Resumes.Serious sounding acronym, but RTF stands for Rich Text Format. This boils down to a document type that supports simple formatting, such as bold and italics, and can be read by multiple systems.
An easy way of making an RTF version of your resume is to go to the Save As function in your word processor and select RTF as the file type.
Benefit: You can keep some of the original panache you included in your resume and it will transfer to other computers.
ASCII Resumes.ASCII is just a fancy name for plain ol' text, which means there will be no formatting. Putting your resume into ASCII (pronounced ASS-key) is minimizing it to the max. No underlines, no bolds, no italics -- little more than capitals and periods.
Benefit: ASCII files can be read by nearly any word processor, and many employers request resumes e-mailed in this format.
Transferring a resume into this basic format requires more work than choosing Save As, as you'll see if you try.
You need to come up with a style and format that is both easy to read and showcases your abilities. A few tips to keep in mind when reformatting your resume:
Keywords.A friend of mine in HR confided to me that the reason many companies ask for ASCII resumes is so they can weed out the bad ones quickly. They run the resumes through a system that searches for buzzwords associated with the position posted, and they toss out the rest. So don't be too creative with your resume. Make sure you say HTML if you know HTML, and not "acquainted with tools to format Web pages."
Job Banks.Some online job banks offer to post your resume for you, allowing employers to leaf through the submissions on their system. It's hard to know how well these resumes are received, but Gary Resnikoff, president of CareerMagazine, said, "We have 250,000 to 300,000 visitors each month, and collectively they download close to 100,000 resumes."
Although going this route might save you work, be wary of the following:
Posting It Online.SIf you have free Web space at your disposal, you should have your resume online. (Read about free Web pages under Net Basics.) Not only do online resumes save you the cost of fancy paper, they're there whenever a potential employer asks for one. Plus, if you have any clips or you have done any work on a Web site, an online resume is the perfect vehicle for showing off.
Now, you might have learned the virtues of DHTML, tables, and frames, which can make your cyber-resume look neat, but it might print lousy. (Again, turn to Net Basics for HTML tips.) Get as fancy as you like, but make sure whoever wants to can print out a version that comes off in one attractive screen. For instance, you might want to post two versions: one with frills, and one without them.
If you remember that simplicity is the key to making it easy for employers to learn about you, you'll have your e-resume up and working for you in no time.