Friday, September 26, 2008

Awkward Wraps in Plain Text Resume

I followed your instructions for converting an MS Word resume into a Plain Text. When I look at the resume in Plain Text, it's no longer formatted and the lines wrap terribly, making it difficult to read. Is there something I can do to "pretty" it up while still keeping it in Plain Text without taking a chance that it's going to look bad when someone pulls it off the Internet?

Unfortunately, what you've described is the nature of Plain Text: it strips your document of all the bold, italics, various font sizes, lines -- all those things that make your hardcopy version so beautiful and inviting to read. It even removes the tabs and indents, and turns lists into paragraph format.

Your Plain Text resume will never look as good as your hardcopy version, no matter what you do with it. But there are a few things you can do to make it easier to read:

1. In your hardcopy version your bullet point statements were aligned such that each line of the text was indented and it was visually clear where one bullet statement ended and another began. In your Plain Text version, the indents have been removed, making the lines wrap flush left, which makes it harder to see where a new statement begins. An easy solution is to add a space between each statement. (Put your cursor at the end of each statement and press the Enter key.)

2. You can also try various substitutes for the bullet statement, such as two asterisks (**) or the "greater than" sign (>), which sort of looks like an arrow. Maybe that will help the employer's eye see where a new statement begins.

Employers understand that a Plain Text resume doesn't look "pretty," and they'll certainly appreciate your efforts to make yours easy to read.

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