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How To Post Your Resume Onto The Internet 

Now that you have your resume you will be sending it to an employer, agency or applying for a job online.  You need to be aware of how your resume is going to be handled on the other end and what is meant by a scanner friendly resume (scannable resume), a resume in ASCII format  (plain text ) or an E-mail resume.


The good news is that if you prepare your resume correctly, it is a simple, but time consuming job to convert it into the required format. The problem of conversion arises when the resume was not written in the correct format in the first place.


Therefore you need to know what each resume version means and how to prepare the right version of your resume so that it is received in the right format required by the employer or recruitment method you choose.


Firstly, lets just go through the 4 different versions of resumes you may heard of and you may have to use.


This section on scanning software and what is acceptable is being updated and research underway with employers, agencies and scanning software companies due to conflicting information due to technology changes. The latest information will be provided stating what format is acceptable for conversion.


All other information  is still relevant and has not changed, Please pay particular attention to keywords.


Up by March 1st.

  • Scannable resume: The one you will send by mail in print version or email attachment . It can contain full formatting, but only formatting such as bolding and bullets and specific plain fonts, but nothing else unless you are a graphic artist, for example and want  to show off your skills. Updating

  • Plain Text version or ASCII:  Limited formatting. Will be used for posting onto employment job boards or in on-line resume forms.

  • E-mail resume. This will be a plain text resume, but will need to have less characters per line to fit into an email to carter for the way each individual wets up their email to receive emails, albeit it is recommended that  plain text documents are set up with less characters per line than a word document as we will see in Converting your resume into plain text.

  • HTML  For posting into a website

Your resume will be handled by the preferred method stipulated by an employer or agency. Read the employers directions clearly and don't ignore instructions on how to send your resume. 


Some Definitions


Scannable resumes and resume keywords

There are two issues hereA scannable resume refers to a resume that can be scanned by optical scanning system and is placed into a database.  When an employer has a vacancy they will input keywords into the database that are related to the job, in order to retrieve resumes that match their criteria. So if your resume does not contain key job related keywords it may be overlooked.  It is therefore important that your resume is written to contain keywords related to your occupation or experience, no matter what method it is going to be sent.


You must have a resume that contains keywords. This is a good resume. However, the real problem with scanning resumes is the way in which they are set out and the format. Let us accept that keywords in a resume goes without saying. This does not become an issue. The issue is how your resume is going to be scanned by the receiver.


Technology is so advanced now, and becoming more so, that a scanner can now read a document without to much altering in Word and an employment agency for example may accept an attachment.  However, if you create too much work for an agency by presenting a document that will not scan easily, they are going to get rid of your nice formatting or abandon it altogether. A scanner friendly resume must be set out simply with only lines, which most modern scanners can now use, and bullets. Even italics can be read so I am told. All resumes should only be written in a simple fonts such as Arial and Times New  Roman, plus a couple of the more modern and simple fonts.


Note: Even if you send your resume in hard copy it is almost always going to be scanned.


Other agencies/employers may ask you to submit your resume in another format, ie posting into an online form or in the body of an email. This will mean you resume will have to be submitted in ASCII or plain text. 



Designing a resume that can be converted needs to be very specific, with lots of keywords related to your targeted position. Keywords usually do not include verbs such as "instigated." and "succeeded"; that it not to say they should not be used. Generally keywords can relate to the job classification title such as Project Manager, Bookkeeper, or skills such as accounts receivable and accounts management. They will be most of the words you read in the advertisement relating to skills or knowledge or an area of expertise such as project management, health and safety,  It will depend on how they are written into your resume and even a professional resume service will use them differently depending upon your skills and experience. This is why it is critical that the resume is well written and targeted. (see sample resumes).


However, this assumes you are going for a targeted position and may not always be picked up in the matching process if your experience is broad or you are looking for a career change.  You should leave out anything that is not related to the position you applied for.  Sometimes, of course, this is not possible. (For example, online applications)


What  is ASC11 formatted resume?  It is the American Standard Code for Information Interchange   It is the same as plain text .


Here you are with a beautifully laid out resume and the employer/agency wants you to submit it into the body of an email or submit it to an online recruitment service or job bank in plain text.


This means all the hard work of designing it, so it is visually attractive, will be lost.  In order to comply with the employer's request you will need to convert your resume into plain text (ASCII) which has formatting limitations. Plain text resumes that have no real focus are more difficult to read,


If the statistics quoted by some job hunting sites are correct, 80% of employer's in the USA are recruiting via employment job banks. This certainly isn't the case in Australia yet, nevertheless the time has come when job seekers need to consider a second resume - a plain text resume. 


If you ignore the rules for converting your resume into plain text it may be eliminated before it even gets to the database. Worse, it may be automatically converted into plain text by the receiver's database, as is, without any formatting whatsoever. It will come out garbled and look a mess. So why not do a plain text resume in the first place?


You still need to compete with others, so your resume must still stand out above all others. The limited formatting will probably be the same, but it still has to have a dynamic content on the front page containing all the job related keywords. So as you can see, you need only create one resume and make minor format alterations for plain text.


Email resumes

As opposed to an email attachment, your resume needs to be pasted into the body of your email. If you ignore the instructions to send an email resume, and send an attachment, your resume is likely to be deleted or filtered out as spam. If it does get through you won't create a favourable impression upon the recruiter. In order to post your resume into the body of the resume it will also have to be converted to plain text. Instructions further on.


To reiterate, if it goes to an employment agency or even an employer, they are likely to scan it with an optical scanner to store into their database. Both an  employer and an agency can weed out any resumes that do not contain the keywords identified in the advertisement. This may not be the way individual hiring companies operate but it is becoming more practical and it can also pick up any spelling errors. So make sure you  use the correct spelling tradition for your country. Australian employers hate American spelling. Too often some word programmes such as my own, do not hold Australian or British English, and revert to American spelling, so you need to check this.


If you want an agency to retain your resume on file to be matched to future vacancies, the agency will feed in keywords related to a job, in order to select or match applicants to a job vacancy.


So your resume must be designed so that it has all relevant keywords related to your occupation or skills to be matched to appropriate jobs.


This why you cannot have any other type of resume. It is the only way to write a resume, and a professional resume service will use this technique.


If you don't want to risk trial and error, and ultimately be wasting valuable time applying for jobs with a poorly designed resume, you might consider having your resume prepared by a professional resume writer.


That is why Pro-Active Human Resource Management provides a service to convert your new resume into plain text or ASC11 resume. 


Electronic resume

It is very simple. You can have a hard copy - a print version of your resume or an electronic resume produced on a computer and stored on a disk or on your computer.


Electronic means a method of collecting, sorting and filing resumes (or any other document produced on a computer) into a data base or electronic filing system. Electronic methods of collecting data such as resumes, include accepting e-mail resumes, posting onto employment job boards, on-line resume forms, or posting a resume to a website (This latter resume will not be discussed here)So in a nutshell, an electronic resume is written to be searched by a computer.  An electronic resume may also be called a scannable resume. This is not correct because a hard copy of your resume may be put through a scanner as well, and it must be scanner friendly



Preparing and posting your resume online - Internet Job Boards


You can also use the job bank's software to write an online resume.  I would advise against this (see comments from an employer below). Make sure the document you are sending is the very best, and this takes time to produce.



  • You cannot save your resume. This is time consuming.

  • You cannot market yourself because you are limited to the information the form requires. Generally it is the same as an application form and you may be required to input information not important or relevant to the position.

  • Some sites do not have a spell checker. So you need to write it in Word and then paste it into the document if you want to be sure it is error free. Mistakes are made when polishing the document.


How do employers view online resumes prepared via a job bank, for example, and are employers genuine and what about privacy? Here is a thread from an online forum worth noting from the early days of posting online. it still raises some questions that are relevant.


This is from what appears to be an employer  "I don't know if it's just me, but when people applied with their Seek Resume, I usually ignored them". (meaning don't compile your resume using an online template)


From a Job seeker. "When I was job searching, I had my CV on Seek and JobNet public, but with home address details removed. I never had any expressions of interest from employers etc. forwarded through either site, but I did get a few calls from agencies saying "we saw your CV on JobNet/Seek and thought you might be appropriate for a position". Sometimes the position was relevant, sometimes it wasn't quite there, but in either case it gave me the opportunity to build rapport with the agent, fill them in on what I'm like and what I'm looking for, etc., which often as not led to interviews for other positions".

Seek have a privacy policy and the debate on forums was heated as to whether Seek uses your details for marketing and/or if employers are exploiting their access to resumes posted online. 

Person 1. This has probably been posted a thousand times already, but seek.com.au use your details for direct marketing. Unfortunately, a lot of employers use their service.

Person 2. That is a load of shite. I know for a fact that they do not. It says so in their privacy policy and a company breaching their own privacy policy is in deep trouble. Why would a company like Seek, who are recently listed on the stock exchange, with everyone watching them and their performance engage in such dubious behaviour?

Person 3 to person "....please find some proof to substantiate your ridiculous claims before you damage your reputation

My comment is that it is not Seek, rather employer's using services and unless they are reported, Seek cannot take action. However, beware of other, not so well known Job banks

This is going off topic but does relate to preparing and posting your resume through a job bank and has relevance for the effectiveness of your electronic resume.  Whatever Job Board you use only reply to an employer who has an advertised position that asks about your skills and experience in greater detail than an employer that just asks some broad criteria.


If you are employed you have more reasons for ensuring the privacy of your resume. So do be careful as to where you post it.


Protecting your privacy

There are a lot of considerations when using an online employment service or  resume bank. Protecting you private information is one. Also you need to be sure the Website is reputable. There is too much identity stealing going on I addition to the prospect of having your name sold to a list for spamming purposes.


Responsible online recruitment services will have a privacy statement and some give you the option of how you want your resume distributed.  For example, CareersOnline.com gives you the option of - "Hide all my information." "Send it only to the employers I select.". "Hide my contact information but let employers view the contents of my resume."


Don't include personal details in your resume.
In most European countries, Australia and USA, equal employment opportunity legislation or anti discrimination laws, means you do not have to provide personal information such as marital status, age or date of birth, race, disability  or any other information by which you can be discriminated against. In fact you can put the employer in a difficult position if you do supply this information and the decision goes against you. The employer can be taken before a tribunal to explain why a person did not get the job. Note: "Identified positions, that is where ethnicity or race is necessary to do the job", is not illegal.  However, it must be called  an "identified position".




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