ASCII Resume Writing — Some Tips to Get You Writing
Once you have your resume created and printed out you might run into a situation or situations where you need to email your resume to a potential employer or else upload it to the Internet. But, how will you do this?
The answer is simple and all you need to do is scan your resume. However, this is not as easy as it sounds because scanning your professional looking resume can cause some serious problems with the layout of your resume. Unfortunately, many scanning software that are used for scanning resumes are old versions that do not work properly anymore. So, when you scan your resume you can be pretty sure it will not turn out just like you had planned. There will likely be many different characters that were not originally in your resume, fonts might change, and the overall appearance will be less than it originally was. Since your resume is frequently the first thing that speaks for your qualifications it is very important that it look professional despite technological or scanning problems. So, is there any way you can ensure that your resume looks good when you scan it no matter what type of scanning software is used? The answer is yes!
What you need to do is format your resume in ASCII. You may have never heard of ASCII resumes before, but it really is not difficult to format your resume this way. All you need to do is type your resume in a word processor and then when you are ready to save simply go to the save as option under file and choose the ASCII option or else plain text. By doing this you will save the integrity of your resume and its original format, but all the special characters like bold, italics, bulleting, centering and the like that can cause problems when scanning will not be included. As a result, you can rest assured when you scan your resume and save it as plain text or as ASCII your resume will not be compromised by strange characters. This is exceptionally important because you want to scan your resume and have it look professional. However, if you do not save it as ASCII or plain text it will more than likely look strange, lose its original format, and have random characters throughout the pages.
This is the last thing you want to send to employers so make sure that you understand how to save your resume in plain text or ASCII format to avoid this problem.
How to Format Your Scannable Resume
The first thing you need to do is create your resume in Microsoft Word or another word processing program. If you do not have a current resume then you should focus on making your resume professional with certain bolded words, spaces, and the like. However, once you have this version saved you want to make the resume as plain as possible. This means removing all bolded words, italics, spaces, bullets, and the like. You are probably thinking this will look ugly, and it will, however it will be computer ready and scannable and that is the purpose. So, after you finish this process you can replace any bullets with dashes or asterisks. Then, make sure the text is all aligned left and you use Courier New font 12. If you don’t know how to do this then all you have to do is highlight all of the text, click the left align button and change the font to Courier New 12 and the entire document will change. Once you have formatted your resume in plain text format then you will be ready to proof it. You will need to close the document and then re-open it in Notepad or another similar program. The reason for this is to see if you saved your resume electronically correct. This might take you by surprise, but when you open up your document in Notepad it might look considerably different than when you saved it or than you expected. This is normal and all you need to do is simply review the resume for any errors or any formatting you do not care for, correct it, and then save again. You may have to go through this process multiple times, but it will eventually be just the way you want and ready for scanning and electronic purposes. Remember, however, you do want to save a copy of your resume in original format so you can print it out and give to employers at interviews and the like.
What to do With Your ASCII Resume
Now that you have your resume formatted in plain text you might still be a little confused as to what you are supposed to do with it. Fortunately, all will be explained. If you need a scannable resume, and most job seekers do, all you need to do is print your ASCII or plain text resume on plain white paper, and then scan it. Make sure you save it to your computer. If you want to email your resume then you simply highlight the saved plain text resume, click “copy” under the Edit button, and then “paste” into a new email. This will send perfectly and all the important information will make it to the potential employer. Also, you may use your plain text resume for resume banks. This is not a problem. All you need to do is go to a variety of employers’ resume banks and cut and past the sections of your plain text resume that seem most important for that particular employer or resume bank.
Another thing you should keep in mind is your cover letter. You want your cover letter to be in plain text format as well, so follow the same steps as you used to convert your resume and you will be able to convert your cover letter as well. Once you have completed these steps your resume and cover letter will be prepared for any employment opportunity and any requirements for submitting your resume and cover letter.