Electronic Marketing: Using E-Resumes and E-Cover Letters

By Eileen Davis, Director of Career Counseling

Just as you can’t conduct a thorough job search without using electronic tools such as e-mail, job boards, and company web sites, you won’t be fully prepared for the search without text versions of your resume and cover letter. You’ll still need a nicely formatted “print” version of your resume for career fairs, interviews, and other face-to-face meetings. But the formatting that makes printed resumes eye-appealing can be an obstacle to the 80% of employers who place resumes into searchable databases. In addition, some employers won’t open e-mail attachments because of concerns about computer viruses. To make sure your documents can be “read” electronically in databases, job-boards, and e-mail, create text (or ASCII) versions of both your resume and cover letter.  

Converting Print Resumes to E-Resumes
You only need to develop one resume for both printed and electronic use, but you will have to alter the format to make it easy to email, post, or copy and paste it. One method for creating a text-based e-resume is to save your Word resume in text format (.txt instead of .doc), re-open it in a text editor program such as WordPad, and make some adjustments so it’s easier to read.

For resources with complete instructions on changing your print resumes and cover letters to text, see “Formatting the E-Resume.”

When and How to Use E-Resumes and E-Cover Letters
Katherine Hansen (www.quintcareers.com), a web-based career adviser, notes that there are many ways you can use a text-based e-resume:

·         Paste it into the body of an e-mail

·         Send it as an e-mail attachment

·         Post it on job boards

·         Paste it piece-by-piece into resume profile forms of job boards, such as Monster

·         Convert it to a Web-based HTML resume

The most common electronic job-hunting tasks involve sending resumes to employers by e-mail, and posting resumes on job boards.

E-mailing Resumes
Because there is no universally accepted way in which employers want to receive e-mailed resumes, here are some procedures to follow that cover all circumstances. Employers will then be able to place your resume into their databases, while also having access to a print version of your resume, should they want one. 

Send an e-mail that includes all of the following:

·         Your text-based cover letter, pasted directly into the body of the e-mail;

·         Your text e-resume pasted into the body of the e-mail;

·         An attached “formatted” resume (print-version resume) saved in rich-text format (RTF), with your name as part of the file name, such as EileenDavisResume.rtf.

Posting Resumes on Job Boards
Job boards follow a variety of procedures for posting resumes. For example, some boards will allow you to paste a resume, in any format, into a form, which will then be automatically converted into a text version. Others require you to paste an e-resume (text version) directly into the form. Still other job boards, such as Monster, require you to complete a profile following a defined format. Regardless of the job board’s process, cutting and pasting all or part of your e-resume should enable you to adapt to the different posting requirements.

If you plan to use electronic tools in your job search, plan on developing an e-resume and e-cover letter for employers’ resume databases, to post to job boards, and for e-mail purposes. A simple change in formatting can make your electronic job search more efficient.

Formatting the E-Resume
Although the content of your resume and cover letter will be the same whether they they’ll be printed or sent electronically, you’ll have to change the format to post, e-mail, and copy and paste these documents successfully. Three excellent resources with step-by-step instructions on changing your documents’ formatting from print to text (ASCII) include:

  • The Riley Guide: Resumes & Cover Letters: Preparing Your Resume for Emailing or Posting on the Internet (www.rileyguide.com)
  • Electronic Resume Guide, www.SusanIreland.com
  • E-Resumes: Everything You Need to Know about Using Electronic Resumes to Tap into Today’s Job Market, by Susan Britton Whitcomb and Pat Kendall, McGraw-Hill Trade; 2001
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3 comments so far

  1. careeradvice on

    Great

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  2. monetizethis on

    This is very good because most people don’t look at what their electronic resume looks like in different formats. Many times the career board simply carry unintelligable garble because someone neglected to follow these steps.

    And this reflects on the submitter, no?

  3. hello on

    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