Please note that these instructions assume that your resume is in MS Word for Windows, including Windows XP. If your resume is in another word processing application or on a different computer platform like Macintosh, you may need to consult your word processing manual for specific instructions.

Step 1: “Save as”: a Text Only document . A Text Only (called Plain Text in Windows XP) document works best for an electronic resume because you can adjust the margins and formatting to suit the database or E-mail system in which you are working. To convert your MS Word resume to Text Only/Plain Text, do the following:

After converting your resume to Text Only, what appears in your document window is your resume stripped of any fancy formatting. You are now ready to make a few final adjustments before posting it online:

Step 2: Check your keywords. Make sure you have all the keywords that define your job qualifications.

Step 3: Remove any references to "page two," "Continued," or your name or head on page 2. You are making your resume appear as one continuous electronic document.

Step 4: Use all CAPS for words that need special emphasis. For the best overall effect, use all caps sparingly and judiciously, highlighting only what you really want to have stand out.

Step 5: Replace each bullet point with a standard keyboard symbol. Suggested replacements are:

Dashes (-)
Plus signs (+)
Single or Double Asterisks (*) (**)

Use the Space Bar, not the Tab Key, to place a single space immediately after each symbol (and before the words). Allow the lines to wrap naturally at the end of a line. Don't put a forced return (don't push the Return or Enter key) if it's not the end of the statement and don't indent the second line of a statement with the Space Bar.

Step 6: Don't use curly quotes. Use straight quotes. To do this, select the text that includes the quotes you want to change. Click Format in your tool bar and select AutoFormat. Click the Options button, and make sure Replace Straight Quotes With Smart Quotes is not selected under both the AutoFormat and AutoFormat As You Type tabs. Then click OK to exit the AutoFormat box, and your curly quotes will be changed to straight quotes.

Step 7: Rearrange text as necessary . Do a line-by-line review of your document to make sure there are no odd-looking line wraps, extra spaces, or words scrunched together in the body, making adjustments accordingly. This may require inserting commas between items that were once in columns and are now in paragraph format because tabs and tables disappeared when the document was converted to Text Only.
Success. You now have a plain text resume suitable for posting. A few more steps will get it ready to be E-mailed. Again, if you take the time to do this now, you will save yourself a lot of time later.

Step 8. Limiting line lengths . Each e-mail software displays its own length of lines, your message may not look as good when it is read by a potential employer. To avoid this problem, it's best to limit each line to no more than 65 characters, including spaces. To do this:

With the font, size of font, and side margins set, each line of your document will be no more than 65 characters and spaces. Don't worry about whether you want the employer to see your resume in Courier font - his or her e-mail software will convert it to the font set on his or her system.

Step 9: Save as Text Only with Line Breaks. To save changes you made in Step 8, you must convert your Text Only document one more time by doing the following:

• With your Text Only resume document open, click File in your tool bar and select Save As.

• Type in a new name for this document in File Name, such as "MyRes.txt"

• Directly under this is the Save As Type pull-down menu. From this list, select "Text Only with Line Breaks (*.txt)." Click Save to perform the conversion. If you're a Windows XP user, save your document as Plain Text. When the File Conversion window appears on your screen, click "Insert line breaks" under Options; then click OK.

• Now close the document and exit MS Word.

• Reopen the resume document (MyRes.txt) by clicking on its icon in the directory. That will open it as a Notepad document.

Step 10: Copy the entire text in your MyRes.txt document that you've opened in Notepad, and paste it in the body of the email message.

Before sending your resume to an employer, test it out by sending it to yourself in your email to see how it looks after going through the Internet. Doing this will help you to identify additional formatting problems you need to correct before you start sending it out to possible employers.

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