I have spent many years searching for various internships, jobs and the like. I have submitted many resumes successfully, some not, but the other day I came across something completely new to me. I came across a posting asking for a text (ASCII) resume and I was a bit thrown off. Text seemed logical, but from my experience with CS I always ASCII thought ASCII to be more of a coded language. After doing a bit of research, I realized they were simply looking for a plain text resume, and it actually made complete sense!
In order to help you save time in your job search, I have come up with the 3 types of resumes I think everyone should be sure to have ready to go!
Editable Document (MS Word / OpenOffice / Adobe InDesign)
Most people already have this resume type. This is the first one you put together, usually its done with a pre-formatted template either on a word processor like Microsoft Word, Open Office or Pages. If you are adventurous, or graphically inclined, you might also consider creating a resume in a design software such as Adobe InDesign. The reason you create a this kind of document is because it is easy to edit as your create new versions, but you will almost never actually submit this version. Word processors tend to format word documents differently depending on your type of word processor, age of software and specific settings. There is no way to predict or guarantee that your computer will read the document the same as a recruiter’s computer, so what might look beautiful to you might look like a formatting nightmare to me.
PDFs are the type of resumes everyone should use, but far too people do. PDF stands for Portable Document Format, and its just that -portable! The reason to submit a PDF document is because it reads more like an image file than a word file, which means that your computer will read it the same as mine. If you ever e-mail a document, do it this way. Creating a PDF is also incredibly easy, you simply hit “Save As” in a word processor, but you change the ‘format’ from .doc, .docx, .pages, .rtf etc. to “pdf”.
NOTE: If you have the ability to do so, you can also create links on your resume using software Adobe Acrobat. For example, I like to make my e-mail, LinkedIn and portfolio sites clickable, because it gives recruiters more to explore!
Plain Text or ASCII
Have you ever been to a corporate-type job application site where they ask you to put your resume in that little box? This is called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and its built for simple text. Even if it takes text from an uploaded .doc or .pdf the formatting probably still looks wrong. If you are smart, you then spend a while editing that text to make it ATS friendly, but its really a pain.
That box is attempting to create a plan text or ascii resume, that is one that does not use any fancy formatting or characters. When you create a document in a word processor, though you can’t see it, the document contains some extra lines of code that can make it difficult for other software to read (don’t believe me, try downloading a text editor like Notepad, SublimeText 2 or Word wrangler and paste your resume in there).
Creating a text or ASCII document beforehand can save you a lot of time when applying to these jobs. You can do it by taking your resume from a word processor and saving it as .txt. You can also create a document in a text editor. Be sure when doing this to read over your resume and eliminate any characters that may cause confusion (such as bullet points or tabs) and insert easy to read spaces instead (like “-“, “*” and spaces). Yes, it’s incredibly annoying, but imagine creating this document once and being able to copy and paste it instead of having to change it every time. For more tips on creating a text or ASCII resume check here.
Bonus: Visual or Creative Resume
Many companies these days are clamoring for something a bit more out-of-the box. When candidates try to sell themselves. If you are feeling creative, or applying to a job that requires creative resumes, you might consider making something a bit more visual, like an infographic or website. See some examples here.
Bottom line is that creating a resume takes a lot of work, but with the right preparation, it can be a bit easier. Now that you know what kind of resumes you need, time to figure out what to put on them- a post for another day…