Every day job seekers are starting new positions that they discovered online, making the Internet an essential tool for job seekers. There are hundreds of commercial sites where you can post your electronic resume, giving employers seeking someone with your background the opportunity to contact you. Employers are able to search among tens of thousands of resumes within an Internet job site, and can find your resume in less than a minute.
Thousands of employers have their own company websites. Many of them list and describe open positions. When you discover a desirable position, you can send your resume to them by email or via an interactive application on their website.
The number of job seekers posting their resumes electronically has grown so rapidly, and so many employers are now using this technology, that no solid job-search would be complete without creating an electronic resume that will sell you. Keep in mind that the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that about 70% of all available jobs are not advertised, even on the Web. While posting your electronic resume increases your chances of getting the job you want, do not rely on it as the sole method of your job search efforts but rather as one more tool to use in your job search.
In the following pages you will learn how to create plain text and scannable resumes, which can put you in the fast lane in your electronic job search.
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For your job search you should have three types of resumes: formatted, plaintext, and scannable.
Formatted: The formatted resume is the resume you create with MS Word, WordPerfect, or other word processors. Those programs allow you to use italics, bold type, bullets, columns, your choice of typefaces (fonts), and other features. These are the features that let you be creative and produce an attractive looking resume to print or to send as an email attachment.
Plain-Text: Plain text, also known as text format and ASCII format (pronounced as-kee), is a universal format that almost all computer operating systems can interpret and use. ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. You will use your plain-text resume whenever sending your resume as text within an email message to an employer, or when storing it at a commercial resume website.
Scannable: The scannable resume is the paper resume you send to employers who scan it into databases. The process removes almost all formatting features, making the resume less attractive. The point to keep in mind is that no one else’s will look any more attractive than yours. Here, what’s important is to create your resume so that when it is scanned, your words are interpreted correctly by the optical character recognition (OCR) software.
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The Internet and the Worldwide Web: The Internet is a worldwide network of computers that can pass information back and forth. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and a network known as “the backbone,” with servers and routers, keep track of information and can reach the intended server to pull information from it. The Worldwide Web (or “Web”) is the graphical portion of the Internet that presents text, drawings, photographs, video, and audio using what is commonly known as a “browser.” Depending on your operating system, you may be familiar with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, or Opera. These are all browsers used to present information to you over the Internet. The Internet provides the ability to send and receive electronic mail, or email, allowing you to send messages from your computer, or receive messages from another computer.
Resume Database or Job Website: A resume job website or database will store resumes, and is capable of retrieving them by a search using key words. There are commercial resume database websites that allow you to post your resume so employers and recruiters can access the database and find people whose background fits what they are looking for. Most are free to the job seeker. Many large and medium sized companies also have their own online resume application that will enable you to post your resume directly to them.
URL: A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is a web address. Each website has a unique URL, enabling you to find and view that site. URLs mainly use lowercase letters, and begin with “http://www.” followed by the domain name, such as careerempowering. The URL ends with an extension, such as .com, .org, .edu and .gov. which indicates the type of organization it is. So the entire address for careerempowering would be “http://www.careerempowering.com.”
Text Editors: A text editor, such as Notepad in MS Word, allows you to edit your plain-text (ASCII) resume or any other plain-text document. From a text editor you can copy and paste your resume or document into an email message you are sending to an employer.
Getting Connected: If you can access the Internet you are ready to begin your job search. If you need to get a computer and connect to the Internet
there are several Internet connection choices available: cable, wireless, DSL, and dial-up. Dial-up Internet access needs a working phone line to connect to a modem that is either inside your computer or plugs into your computer. When you click the Connect icon on your computer screen your computer dials your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and sends your unique user ID to connect you to the Internet. Dial-up service is the least expensive (and slowest) access to the Internet. Cable access currently provides the fastest access to the Internet. Cable Internet access also uses an external modem (different from that used by a dial-up modem) that is always on. This means you have instant access to the Internet at any time. DSL and wireless Internet access fall somewhere between cable and dial-up in cost and speed. In general, whatever method of Internet access you choose, the rule of thumb is, the faster the access, the greater the cost.
Free Email Services: Having an email account is part of a successful online job search. It provides an easy means of sharing information with potential employers and job search contacts. See page 114 for a list of free email services. Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, and a host of other free email service providers offer free email accounts to anyone. Because you will be using email to communicate with potential employers it is important to create an email address that is businesslike. A good tip when sending email is to email yourself all the versions of your resume. You then can have access to your resume anywhere there is Internet access just by logging into your email account.
If You Don’t Have a Computer: Most libraries now offer Internet access. You have to sign up for a session, usually no more than an hour at a time, but you can do a lot of job searching in an hour. Most email programs now provide access from any computer that is Internet connected. If you’re unemployed you may have access to computers at your state Employment Security offices, often known as WorkSource Centers, One-Stop Centers, or Job Service Centers.
attachments: Attachments are formatted files that can be added to an email message. During a job search, typical attachments would be a resume or cover letter. People often send MS Word attachments, and computers can open and read them. Once opened, you can save the resume as a Word document. People also attach plain-text resumes. Many companies have policies that prevent employees from opening email attachments from unknown people because of the potential for damage from rogue computer applications called computer viruses.
Storage: You can take your resume along with you in many ways. There is of course the old standard, the floppy disk. However many new computers no longer come with floppy disk drives, so it may be wise to store your resume and cover letter on a “thumb drive,” “USB drive,” or “flash drive.” All of these terms refer to a small device that can store far more than your resume and cover letter; they are also much more durable than a floppy disk. You can attach them to your car keys, wear them as a necklace, or carry them in your pocket. All computers built in the last six years come with USB plug-ins. Prices on USB drives vary according to their storage capacity. Compact disks (CDs) and digital video discs (DVDs) represent two other ways to store your important information. Both need a device called a recorder to “burn” your data onto a blank disk. You then can take the disk with you and access your information from any computer that has a disk drive.