Career Development


Digital/Internet Resumes

What are digital resumes? Digital resumes are resumes that will be sent to potential employers by email, posted on an Internet resume bank or submitted to a potential employer for scanning into a keyword searchable database.

How do digital resumes differ from written resumes? While digital resumes include the same information as other resumes, they use simpler, technologically friendly formatting and also emphasize keywords. Nouns are the keywords or “buzzwords” that employers look for in prequalifying potential candidates.

To what extent are employers using digital resumes? The number seems to be growing although it varies by region of the country. At one time digital resumes were more important when job searching in technology areas, but an increasing number of employers are accepting digital resumes for applicants in all fields.

Do clients need both regular and digital resumes? Since the recent trend among employers is to identify potential candidates by checking for resumes in online talent banks, searching resumes by keywords, and accepting emailed resumes, it is very important for job hunters to have digital forms of their resume also.

What should be considered when developing a resume that will be sent by email or posted on the Internet?  When preparing a digital/Internet resume, remember:

  • Use plain text or ASCII text
  • Use keywords or “buzzwords” that exactly match the words in the position description
  • Avoid the use of abbreviations
  • Do not use bold, italics, underlining, tabs, bullets or multiple size fonts since they will not print in text file – use alternatives such as asterisks or plus signs for bullets, or use all capital letters for section headings
  • Since word wrap is disabled, use hard returns at the end of lines
  • Have no more than 65 characters per line to ensure that all information is transmitted
  • Use courier font rather than special fonts

When sending your resume via email, use one of these three formats:

  • Microsoft Word – the standard industry word processor; if they do not have it, they will usually have a utility to convert from this format.
  • Text – this format is most appropriate for a resume which you know will be scanned into a database, since there are no embedded characters.
  • HTML – either for posting on the Web or if you are certain that the recipient has an HTML-enabled mail program, such as Netscape Mail 3.0 and above.
  • Do not put the words “Entry Level” in the subject line – very few employers are searching the Net looking specifically for entry level. State your objective clearly and succinctly in 80 characters or less. When sending your resume as an attached file, MIME format works best – the most consistent standard for sending your resume via email is to embed your text resume into the body of the message and attach your resume using MIME in Word (.doc) format.
  • Make sure that you post directly from the email address you are most active with, since many employers will respond directly to that address.
  • As with other areas of a job search, Internet job search success depends on being active – active posting involves surfing individual employer postings or job postings and responding directly with an email resume.
  • Email your resume to a friend and to yourself to be sure how it will look when transmitted

What should be considered when developing a resume that will be scanned by a potential employer?There is a growing trend for employers to scan resumes into a database and to search that database to find resumes that most closely match the greatest number of keywords in specific position descriptions. This means that the computer takes the first look. So here are some points to consider when you prepare a resume for machine scanning:

  • Do not use any graphics for formatting
  • Use non-textured white paper with black letters
  • Use a font size of 10 to 14 points
  • Put your name on a separate line on each page
  • Do not staple or fold your resume

What are some key Internet sites clients can find job listings and post their resumes? There are many sites including local and national sites, college career planning sites, and comprehensive career sites. Some specific Internet sites are:

Should clients use email and the Internet as their primary job search strategies? No. Remember that the most effective job search includes multiple strategies. However, do help your clients identify Internet resume banks, be prepared to post a resume to online job listings by sending it by email, and ask potential employers before mailing a resume whether they should include a resume formatted for scanning.

Information Sources: Career Developments, The newsletter of the National Career Development Association, Winter 2000; author, Judy Hoppin, NCDA Board member at Oakland University.
Internet Resumes,, Winter 2000, Job Search Info.