If you absolutely cannot find out an employer’s preference, the following is a fairly safe bet:
- 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.)”
The same lack of universality goes for job boards. Some enable you to paste your resume into a form in any format, but the board automatically converts it to text. Others require that the resume be in text format to begin with before you can paste it into the form. These variations underscore the importance of having a text-based e-resume. While researching this material that became this chapter, the Quintessential Careers staff experimented with posting resumes to several sites. We learned that a text-based e-resume is not only vital for boards with a text-resume requirement — but also extremely helpful when the boards convert any resume to text. Just because a job board turns your resume into text doesn’t mean it will look decent; it’s better to have a text resume to begin with so you know it will look appropriate when pasted in.