June 24, 2018

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Your E-resume's File Format Aligns with its Delivery Method

Part 1 of 2

E-resume, or electronic resume, is a broadly used term that covers several types of resumes. The way a resume is intended to be delivered to its recipient determines the technological approach you should take to the resume's preparation. This article describes some of the most common types of e-resumes and offers some general guidelines on how to create them.

The formatted, "print" resume, also known as a word-processed resume or traditional paper or hard-copy resume, is created in a word-processing program. Microsoft Word is the most widely used and is advisable to use for that reason. Some job-seekers use Corel WordPerfect, Microsoft Works, or other less well-known programs. If you are sending your formatted, print resume as an attachment to an e-mail message, it is inadvisable to use a program other than Word unless you save the resume in Rich Text (.rtf; see Rich Text Format entry, below). File extensions for formatted, print resumes include .doc for MS Word, .wpd, for Corel WordPerfect and .wps for MS Works. Common delivery methods for the formatted, print resume include regular postal mail, faxing, hand-delivery, and e-mail attachment.

The formatted, print resume is among the best for its attractive visual presentation of the job-seeker. When sent as an e-mail attachment, however, its formatting may appear inconsistently from computer to computer, and it is highly vulnerable to viruses. Don't send a formatted, print resume as an attachment unless (a) you're sure it's the employer's preference or (b) you also provide another alternative, preferably your text-based resume pasted into the body of an e-mail message.

Text resume, also known as a text-based resume, plain-text resume, or ASCII text resume, is the preferred format for submitting resumes electronically. A text resume, which carries the .txt file extension, is stripped of virtually all its formatting and is not especially visually appealing, which is OK since its main purpose is to be placed into one of the keyword-searchable databases that the vast majority of today's large employers now use. The text resume is not vulnerable to viruses and is compatible across computer programs and platforms. It is highly versatile and can be used for:

Numerous resources are available to guide you through creating a text resume or converting your existing formatted resume to text, including part of the Electronic Resume Workshop from Susan Ireland

You can see what a typical text resume looks like in this sample text chronological resume

Rich Text Format (RTF) resume, can be created in most word-processing programs by saving the resume as Rich Text with a file extension of .rtf. Generally speaking, the formatting and attractive visual presentation created in the original document will hold up in the Rich Text resume, although more complex formatting (such as columns or tables) may not hold up. It's best to test the Rich Text resume by sending it to the computers of a few friends to see how the formatting looks on the other end. Rich Text can be an excellent choice as an e-resume attachment because it is compatible across all platforms and word-processing programs. It's also far less vulnerable to viruses than are Word documents. In terms of attachments, it's the best choice when you can't determine what file type the employer prefers, but it should be accompanied by the text version of your resume pasted into the body of the e-mail message to which the RTF resume is attached.

You may also want to read The Top 10 Things You Need to Know about E-Resumes and Posting Your Resume Online

- Katharine Hansen

Katharine Hansen is Chief Writer for Quintessential Resumes and Cover Letters and Creative Director for Quintessential Careers, where this article initially appeared. She is a Credentialed Career Master and Certified Electronic Career Coach. She can be reached at

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