In our last post we covered the importance of a plain text resume in successful online job applications. Designing a text-based resume that gives you a competitive edge in a world of resume database “black holes” isn’t complicated, and with a few steps you can take a formatted word resume and translate it easily into a transparent, ATS friendly document.

Most of us are familiar with Microsoft Word, or other word processing platforms that allow for styling and formatting of text for presentation purposes (if not, many services exist that help those of us less tech-savvy create powerful marketing documents). Chances are the resume you have on hand was one created in word, with basic formatting including attention to font type, font size, spacing, bolds or italics, underlining, color highlights, tables, charts, etc. The problem, as we mentioned in the previous article, is that many of these elements, when translated by online recruitment software, come out the other end unreadable by the system.

In order to take your carefully crafted word formatted resume onto the online world, first you need to convert the content into either Rich Text Format (.rtf) or Plain Text Format (.txt).

A step-by-step process:

  1. OPEN (or create) your document in your favourite word processing software (Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, GoogleDocs, etc.)
  2. Click FILE – SAVE AS. Using the drop-down menu, choose either .rtf or .txt file format and SAVE (in an easy to find location, such as your DESKTOP).
  3. Find the saved file and OPEN the .rtf/.txt using your favourite text-editing software (TextEdit, Notepad++, Vim, BBEdit, etc.)
  4. Click FORMAT – WRAP TEXT to ensure your content fits to the page.
  5. Read through the text to ensure all content has translated properly, removing any random characters and adding in words or phrases that may have not transferred to the new format.
  6. Use simple formatting such as spacing or dotted lines between sections, and capital letters for titles. Once you are satisfied with the layout and look of the document, SAVE the file as “your name_resume.txt”.

Your formatted resume is now ready to use for online application formats, including job board applications, online submission platforms, or simply to copy and paste into the body text of an email.

Although some recruiters and hiring managers will still request a word or pdf version of your resume, having a prepared ASCII/plain text resume on hand will save you significant time and headaches in the job search process. Knowing all the details of your qualifications are being communicated to both human and AI readership gives you peace of mind and confidence as you actively pursue that job of your dreams.

Career Compositions

Career Compositions is a team of Certified Resume Strategists and writers offering expertise in personal branding and marketing documents for career professionals across Canada.

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