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Format an online résumé

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This article describes how to format a résumé to look good on the Internet.

To create a résumé which will look consistently good when e-mailed, scanned, or viewed on a web browser, you should use the simplest formatting possible. This may mean sacrificing the features of your favorite word processor such as tables, paragraph borders, and custom fonts.

If you plan to post your résumé to the Internet, it is a good idea to keep two versions of it. Use the on-line version for e-mail and Internet postings. Save your fully formatted résumé for interviews and for giving to employers who have already shown an interest.

Follow these steps to create a résumé that will look good no matter where you send it. These directions will work for most word processing programs:

  1. Open your résumé in your word processor.
  2. Save the résumé as TEXT ONLY. (This feature is usually available by choosing Save As from the File menu)
  3. Close the résumé and reopen the new text-only version in Notepad or a similar plain text editor.
  4. Edit your résumé following the formatting suggestions below.
  5. Save the document.

To send your résumé in an e-mail or post it to the Internet, Select the résumé text, Copy it, and Paste it into the e-mail or web page.

Formatting suggestions

  • Use a non-proportional font such as Courier so that each full line of text appears as the same width on the page.
  • Do not use tabs. They are often ignored by web browsers, and behave unpredictably in e-mail reader programs.
  • Avoid trying to indent or center text using the spacebar. Keep all lines justified to the left side of the page, and use line breaks ("Enter" key) to separate headings and sections.
  • Don't rely on exact positioning of text using spaces or specific fonts. The font that you use to create your résumé is not necessarily the same font that will be used to display it on the Internet or in an employer's e-mail program.
  • To emphasize a word or words, use ALL CAPS rather than bold, or surround the text using ***asterisks*** or #other characters#.
  • For bulleted lists, use the asterisk (*), hyphen (-), plus sign (+) or a similar common character. Keep in mind that long lines of text may wrap incorrectly underneath the bullets. To avoid this problem, keep list items under 60 characters wide.
  • Don't try to control the width of each line in a long paragraph by using carriage returns. Just put a single carriage return at the end of the paragraph to allow your text to wrap normally. It will then look consistently good even if the browser or email reader window is resized.

Sample online résumé format

1234 5th Ave, Apt. 6
Arlington, WA 98500

Merchandise and Goods Delivery Driver

CDL Class B license
WA State Food Handlers Permit
Department of Transportation Physical Certification

* Able to lift 50-75 lbs safely and efficiently
* Maintain excellent relationships with clients
   and receiving personnel
* Friendly and energetic personality
* Thorough knowledge of Seattle streets
   construction conditions, and revisions
* Safe driving record

* Poultry
* Meats
* Durable goods
* Dairy deliveries
* Fish and other delicate perishables
* Dry goods

Thorough knowledge of diesel and gas engine troubleshooting. Maintained delivery records
with accounts receivable. Collection of money or signature from customers. Checked out and
in vehicle, including daily safety inspection.


Fred's Fine Foods 2000-2002

Seattle, WA
Delivery Driver
Employee of the year, 2002

Sam's Fine Fish 1999-2000
Seattle, WA
Delivery Driver
Consistently met or exceeded delivery goals

Swift Shipping 1998-1999
Seattle, WA
Transfer driver
Drove materials to satellite locations


Holy Mary High School
Taos, MN

University of Marie del Rios
Santa Fe, TX
Bachelor of Arts

More résumé formatting help:

There are four basic types of résumés: chronological, functional, combination, and curricula vitae (CVs). Choose a format that best fits your experiences and industry or one that you are comfortable with. Ultimately, the choice of résumé format is up to you.

  • Chronological résumés present information in a timeline approach.
  • Functional résumés group work experience and skills by skill area or job function.
  • Combination résumés highlight your skills and experiences.
  • Curricula vitae (CVs) provide a detailed statement of your qualifications. They are only used in certain positions and industries.

For more help, visit a WorkSource Office and attend a Resume Writing Workshop free of charge.

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