Alumni: Electronic Resumes
< Career Discovery
Many companies are scanning resumes and maintaining their own databases from which they can screen applicants. You may receive notices from various firms on and off the internet encouraging you to send them your resume electronically. The resumes you send might differ from the traditional resumes you have been using.
Sending Your Resume By E-Mail
Today, many employers and recruiters may ask you to submit your resume over e-mail. The best way to do this is to attach your resume as a Word document or PDF file. PDF files are high quality, uneditable files which can be created from your Word document. You will need software such as Adobe Acrobat to create PDFs.
Just as if you were printing out the resume to hand to an employer, your electronic resume should look sharp and professional. Refer to our resume writing guide elsewhere on this site for tips and sample resumes.
When attaching your resume to an e-mail (or to an on-line application), make certain that you give it simple, professional name. For example: "JohnSmithResume" or "ProfessionalResume." Avoid names that mention the company - even the most careful person could accidently send a document called "UPennResume" to an employer that isn't the University of Pennsylvania!
In the body of your e-mail, include a cover letter, mentioning how you became aware of the job opening or the employer. You may also wish to mail a hard copy of all documents, unless you are applying directly on an employer's website.
You will find that many employers, including The University of Pennsylvania, allow you to apply for jobs by filling out on-line applications.
If the application asks you to attach a resume, cover letter or other document, follow the same guidelines as if you were attaching the resume to an e-mail (See above).
The on-line application form may include a text box for you enter your resume into. You can cut and paste the information directly from your resume into the text box, but because text boxes do not recognize special formatting, remember these basic rules:
Most importantly, keep everything simple and straightforward. Employers who use web forms will be looking for content over aesthetics.
- Use capital letters (Instead of bold face type) to separate different sections of your resume.
- The "Tab" key may not work inside a form's text box, so use the space bar to align lines properly.
- Boxes, shading, italics, bullets and other design features will not transfer over. If you are using bullet points on your resume, try replacing them with an asterisk (*).
- Use key words to describe your assets, because that's how resume databases will be searched. Use terms common to the industry you are considering. Job ads show you what these words are. The more key words you match, the better your chances will be.
Scanning Your Resume
Though it has become more common for employers to ask for your resume via e-mail attachment or an electronic form (See above), you might be asked to send a scan of your resume. In the past few years, scanners have become sharper and more versatile, but there are a few guidelines you'll want to stick to:
- Use white or light-colored 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper. Be sure to print only on one side.
- Do not fold or staple the document. The staples or folds will scan in and look unsightly.
- Choose a standard 10 - 14 point type for best results.
- Make sure your name, address, e-mail and phone numbers are on their own line, or spaced out evenly to avoid them becoming unreadable. If you are a more experienced candidate who requires two pages, be sure that your name is at the top of the second page to ensure that both pages are viewed as one document. Most scanners now have the ability to scan multi-page documents into one file, but keep your name on each page regardless.
- Always send a cover letter if you are responding to an ad and send a hard-copy of all the documents by mail, indicating you have already responded electronically.
For more information on electronic resumes click here.