Online Resume Formats

By: Michelle Roebuck

There are several types of online resume formats that can be used when contacting potential employers. When you search for job openings online, some companies will have on their websites which online resume format is acceptable.

If you don't know which format is acceptable to a certain company, call them and ask. The worst thing you can do is send an online resume in the wrong format and have it ignored.


This format is also referred to as ASCII. Many companies used to accept this type of resume a few years ago when searching for a job on the internet was still new. When this format is used, the resume is written in plain text with no formatting. The resume is sent in an email to the employer.

Unfortunately, because the resume is unformatted, it looks pretty ugly and is hard to read. With the advancements in word processing and email functions, companies are turning towards more professional looking online resume formats.


This type of resume is delivered to the employer in PDF format (Portable Document Format). You write your resume in Microsoft Word or some other word processing program, format it, convert it to PDF and save it. The file can be sent by email as an attachment. The employer needs to have a PDF viewer or Adobe Acrobat in order to view it.

Sometimes this can pose a problem because of computer viruses. People are wary about opening attachments to emails. If the employer wants you to submit your resume by this method, go ahead and do it. More than likely, they have software that can detect viruses in attachments.


Some people use a single web page to display their resume. You have your own personal website. You write your resume in HTML format, upload it into your own website and give the URL address to employers so they can visit your web page and read it. This takes care of the problem of email viruses. Make sure this is acceptable to the employer.


This type of resume is used by online employment sites and employers' websites. You just fill in the blanks and the information is sent electronically into a database. There's not much room for creativity as with your standard mailed-in resumes. The way to get your resume noticed is to use keywords.

Keywords are nouns that describe your skills and achievements. "Product development", "project coordinator", "Excel", "Powerpoint" are all keywords. They describe what your skills are and what duties you performed on your previous or current job.

This last online resume format is the one used most often by employers. The rule you should remember however, is if you don't know which format to send your resume, go to the employer's website. If that doesn't work, call them and ask.

About the Author:

Michelle Roebuck provides job interview tips and resume writing advice at To sign up for her FREE monthly newsletter go to

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