Why get Two ASCII Resumes? How to Create ASCII Resumes
by Kim Isaacs, Resume Expert

You should have two ASCII resumes resumes ready to go — one suitable for emailing and one for posting to online forms. The emailable version should have forced line breaks at 65 characters or less, while the version for online forms should not have forced line breaks (the text should wrap).

To create an ASCII resume for Web forms using MS Word 2010:

  • Open your Word document, select “Save as” and under “Save as Type,” scroll to Plain Text. Rename the file something like: “Yourname_ASCIIforWebforms.” In the pop-up box, check the “Allow Character Substitution” box and then “OK.”
  • Close the file and re-open the file in a text editor such as Notepad.
  • Change bullets to asterisks or dashes.
  • If columns or tables were used in the original document, make sure the text flows correctly.
  • Review the heading to ensure that the address, phone number(s), and e-mail addresses are placed in a logical sequence.
  • Add stylistic elements to the header sections so that they stand out. A horizontal line may be created by using a series of dashes or asterisks.
  • If a resume is longer than one page and contains contact information on the additional pages, remove this information from the ASCII version. The ASCII resume is meant to be read on a computer screen, so there is no distinction between page numbers.

To create an ASCII resume for emailing:

    • Open the ASCII for Webforms file in MS Word. Select All and change the font size to 13.5.
    • Go to Save As and rename the file (e.g., “Yourname_ASCIIforEmailing”). Select “Plain Text” again under Save as Type. Click Save, and this time when the popup box comes up, check the “Insert Line Breaks” box and click “OK.”
    • Close the file and re-open the file in a text editor such as Notepad.
    • Review the file to make sure text is more or less aligned at the end of each line.

Kim’s Bio: Kim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and a Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW). She serves on the National Resume Writers’ Association’s advisory committee for the NCRW credential. Kim coauthored The Career Change Resume: How to Reinvent Your Resume and Land Your Dream Job (McGraw-Hill) with Karen Hofferber. Numerous other career books feature Kim’s advice about online job search techniques and sample resumes and cover letters.

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