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By: Michelle J Scott
It is vital to provide a short, clear and concise electronic resume. Some scanning systems and databases stop reading resumes after a certain number of lines, often after about one and a half pages, so be sure that your most important information appears early in the resume.

You can easily take your existing resume and reformat it for electronic submission. Here are some quick guidelines to do so:

1. Open your regular resume file and select the Save As command on your toolbar, usually located under the file menu. Select Text Only, Plain Text or ASCII as the type.

2. Close the file and then reopen it to make sure you are working from the new text-only version. You'll see that most graphic elements such as lines, images and bullet point symbols have now been eliminated. But if they haven't, go ahead and delete them. You may use equal signs in place of lines or borders and replace bullet points with plus symbols(+), asterisks (*) or hyphens (-).

3. Limit your margins to no more than 65 characters wide.

4. Use an easy-to-scan sans-serif type font, such as Courier, Arial or Helvetica.

5. Eliminate bold, italics and underlining if any remain after saving as text-only.

6. Introduce major sections with words in all uppercase letters, rather than in bold, italics or underlining.

7. Keep all text aligned to the left.

8. Instead of using bullets, use a standard keyboard character, such as an asterisk.

9. Instead of using the Tab key or paragraph indents, use the space key to indent.

10. When done, click Save or OK. Then reopen the file to see how it looks. Make any additional format changes as needed.

Now test your electronic resume by e-mailing it to a friend who uses a different Internet Service Provider. For example, if you use AOL, send it to a friend on Yahoo!
or Hotmail. Also try sending it to someone who works in a large company to see how it transmits via their résumé into the body of the e-mail rather than sending it as an attachment. That way, they will be able to tell you how it looks when it shows up in their e-mail system and whether it is legible. After getting their feedback, make any adjustments necessary to fix it.

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