You must tailor the use of your e-resume to each employer's or job board's instructions

There is no universally accepted way to submit your e-resume to an employer. Some employers want your resume as an attachment, usually as a Word document (but if no format is specified, and you can't find out, RTF is the safest bet). Others want your resume as text pasted into the body of an e-mail message. Still others want you to paste your resume into an online form.

If you absolutely cannot find out an employer's preference, the following is a fairly safe bet:

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  • A formatted, "print" resume in document or RTF form sent as an attachment to an e-mail message to the employer. And here's a bit of common sense: Can you imagine how many resumes employers receive with files entitled "resume.doc" or "resume.rtf"? Use your name as part of the file name for your resume. Example: JaySmithResume.rtf.
  • A text-based e-resume stripped of most formatting and pasted directly into the same e-mail message into which your print resume is attached. Since the employer has this text-based resume, he or she can choose whether or not to open the attached version, based on compatibility, virus protection, and company policy on opening attachments. For a truly complete e-mailable, electronic package, add a text-based cover letter stripped of formatting and pasted directly into the same e-mail message into which your print resume is attached. Kendall and Whitcomb note that your cover letter can contain verbiage that points out the e-resume options you're providing: "I have attached an MS Word version of my resume, as well as pasted a plain-text version below. (If the plain-text version is sufficient for your database, it is not necessary to download the formatted attachment.)"

Also note that some job boards/employers limit the number of words or the size of the file that you can paste into any one field. Others, such as Monster.com, have a very rigid format for constructing your resume/profile that does not allow for functional or chrono-functional resume formats, for example.

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