The Pros and Cons of Electronic Resumes


New era resume versions

The two most frequently used methods of resume submissions are:

  1. To upload them to employers’ websites and/or resume banks; and
  2. To e-mail them directly to employers who offer the jobs/positions that applicants have interest in.

In this era of “high speed” Internet connections, “instant” messaging, and “e” interactions of every other kind, faxing a resume or sending one via “snail mail” has been rendered virtually obsolete; especially since employers are relying heavily on software programs that scan resumes for key words related to the available positions at their organizations.

However, printed resumes are necessary for interviews; and therefore, as professionals, we essentially must have two different versions of our resume; and while there are numerous resources for composing a more traditionally formatted resume, many professionals are not sure how to create electronic resumes that will get noticed. In view of this practical and seemingly required skill – or lack thereof – we thought it would be helpful to provide a few of the pros and cons involved in creating and submitting electronic resumes.

Resume formatting and sending

Pro – Create a plain text file of your resume. While you want certain items on your resume to stand out, you should still have a plain text file (.txt file) of that resume, keeping in mind that most employers request a plain text file, because they can run the file through computer software that scans resume for key words related to the available jobs. When creating a text file however, make sure that you take the time to format the resume; and check spacing while adjusting any lines of text that seem out of place.

Pro – Follow the instructions of your potential employer. If a potential employer is asking that resumes be sent in the body of your e-mail, do not send them an attachment. Just copy and paste the plain text resume you have created into the body of the email; but take the time to check for potential formatting changes, and do not try to format the text by making portions of your resume bold, or change the font size or type. While you may have the email editor which allows for this formatting, your potential employer may only accept plain text messages. Stick to the basics for a successful transmission of your resume.

Testing and saving the resume

Pro – Test your electronic resume by sending it to a few friends via email. Because they may be using different e-mail providers, or have different software than you do, they can let you know how your resume appears to them. This will help you in uncovering and correcting potential formatting problems, thereby making sure that your resume is in great form by the time it reaches potential employers.

Con – Saving your resume in PDF format. Avoid using his file type for your resume, as it typically makes the fonts larger in size, and is not very common for an electronic resume. A resume sent in this format could be the reason that leads a potential employer to completely discard your email.

Emailing your resume

Con – To assume that your email body should include only the resume. Make the assumption that a resume in the body of an email is the only information you should include in your message to potential employers is not the way to go; because even if the resume is copied into an email, you still need to let a potential employer know a little bit more about yourself via a cover letter. However, since your address will be shown at top of the email, your resume could begin with a career objective instead of a name and address heading.