By Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., and Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
Every job-seeker today needs a formatted “print” resume for sending to employers as an e-mail attachment (according to the employer’s instructions) and using for interviews, job fairs, and general networking, as well as a text-based electronic resume to use for submitting to online job sites and sending in the body of e-mail messages. Another resume variation that every job-seeker should consider for his or her toolbox is the Web-ready or HTML resume.
What is a Web-ready resume? It’s one created with a programming language called Hypertext Markup Language or HTML (or similar Web-based coding). A number of tools are available to help you create a Web-ready resume without having to learn HTML.
This article will show you how to develop a job-search Web resume by converting your current resume to one that is ready to be published on a Web page (You will need your own Web page or access to Web space to actually publish it on the Web; see below for more information about obtaining Web space).
Under what circumstances would you need a Web-ready resume? Publishing a resume on the Web is advantageous in a number of ways:
- Employers can access your resume 24/7. If you’re networking on the phone with an employer in another city who wants to see a copy of your resume, you can simply refer the employer to the Web address where your resume resides.
- Resumes published on the Web enable passive job-seeking because employers often find your resume on the Web using various search mechanisms.
- A resume published on the Web enables you to include links to work samples (written work, graphic design, other Web pages you’ve designed, photographs, reports, etc.) that can demonstrate your skills to employers. You can view an excellent example of a Web-based portfolio. Note that the page’s author, Ashley Bischoff, offers employers the opportunity to download resumes in four formats: PDF (Portable Document Format), MS Word, HTML, and ASCII text.
- If Web design is a career you are pursuing, a Web-based resume can show off your design skills.
The only catch to having a Web-ready resume is that you need to have a place and a means to publish it. The best candidates for Web-based resumes are those who already have their own Web pages or access to Web space. For example, many universities provide Web space for their students. But even if you don’t have your own space, you can still use a Web-ready resume. This article refers you to Web sites that offer free Web-space hosting and provides resources on the technical aspects of publishing your resume on the Web.
Do not, however, confuse a Web-ready resume with one that can be posted on job boards, such as Monster.com. Many job boards explicitly prohibit HTML resumes. Further, don’t depend on your Web-based resume as your only resume. Many employers, especially headhunters and recruiters will not take the time to go to your Web site to view your resume. Think of your Web-based resume as a supplemental tool that can expand the audience for your resume.
First, some tools you will need for developing your Web-ready resume:
- A Web browser. The most common are Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and MS Internet Explorer. A browser enables you to view, but not manipulate, Web pages.
- An HTML editor component of your browser or a stand-alone HTML editor. An HTML editor enables you to create and manipulate Web pages without learning HTML coding. You can find paid and free HTML editors through CNET’s Download section. Check the box for your operating system (Mac, Windows, etc.); perform a search for “HTML editor.”
- If you don’t have and can’t obtain an HTML editor, you can still use Method IV or V below.
Method I of Developing a Web-Ready Job-Search Resume: “Borrow” from a Sample Web Resume.
- Look at some sample Web resumes on the Internet, for example: Sample Web Resumes from Quintessential Careers.
- Identify a resume whose design/format you really like among these samples.
- Save the resume you chose from above. You can save it as your own resume with an HTML extension; for example: your-name-resume.html. From your browser, pull down the File menu, and choose Save.
- Go into your HTML editor.
- Open up the resume you saved from step 3.
- Delete any graphics or other materials you don’t want on your resume, and plug in all your own information in place of the information on the sample resume you chose.
- Re-save the document with a new file name and HTML extension (.html).
Method II of Developing a Web-Ready Job-Search Resume: Convert Your ASCII-Text Resume to HTML/Web-Ready
- If you have a text-based resume (also called an ASCII-text resume) open the file for it. (If you don’t have a text-based resume, you can learn how to create one with our article, How to Write Text Resumes.)
- Paste your ASCII-text resume into your HTML editor, and use the editing functions to make appropriate formatting adjustments so the resume looks attractive.
- Save the document with an HTML extension; for example: your-name-resume.html.
Method III of Developing a Web-Ready Job-Search Resume: Convert Your MS Word Resume to HTML/Web-Ready
- Open the MS Word version of your resume.
- Go into the File menu and choose Save as Web page. Save the document.
- You will probably find that the Word/HTML file on your screen looks fine, but when you open the same file in your browser, it may contain formatting glitches, such as extraneous characters. If you open the file in your HTML editor, you will be able to fix the glitches. Be sure to re-save the document after fixing the glitches.
Method IV of Developing a Web-Ready Job-Search Resume: Create Your HTML/Web Resume Using a Web-Based Service
- Go to our article New Web-Based Twists on Resumes and review the various services that enable you to build a resume.
Method V of Developing a Web-Ready Job-Search Resume: Create Your HTML/Web-Ready Resume Using HTML Coding
- Start in a text-editor, such as Notepad or Wordpad or, for Mac, Text Wrangler or TextEdit.
- Review basic HTML tags, which are the commands browsers use to format Web pages. Here is a list of basic HTML commands.
- Begin keystroking in your resume; or, better, copy and paste your resume from either word-processed or text-based formats.
- Insert various HTML tags to give your resume the look you desire.
- Save the document with an HTML extension; for example: your-name-resume.html.
- Review the look of your resume by opening a browser and from the file menu, choose “open file.”
- Troubleshoot any misguided HTML tags and fix any formatting problems from step 5.
Congratulations. You have created a Web-ready resume. Now all you have to do is find Web space, learn how to publish your resume on the Web, and learn how to publicize it so employers can find it.
Finding Web Space:
If you used Methods I, II, III, or V, you will still need to find Web space in which to publish your resume and learn how to publish it. Check with your Internet Service Provider. Many providers offer users space on their Web-servers. For a search engine that enables you to find Websites with free Web space hosting, go to FreeWebspace.Net.
Learning How to Publish Your Resume on the Web — Some Resources:
- Quintessential Careers: Web Publishing Resources — information about style guides, color, graphics, counters, ISPs, and more.
- Get the show on the road – How to publish your masterpiece — probably the simplest explanation with great illustrations.
Publicizing your Web Resume:
Once you’ve found a host for your Web page and resume, a key technique for getting employers to notice it is registering it with search engines. Read our article Resume Found: Keys to Successful Search Engine Registration.
Enhancing your Web Resume:
Don’t forget that a Web-based resume has the added advantage of enabling you to link your resume to other samples of your work. You could link to reports, papers, studies, brochures, projects, presentations, testimonials, letters of recommendations, any kudos you have received — from customers, clients, colleagues, past employers, professors, etc. Some experts even suggest including copies of favorable employer evaluations and reviews. You could link to a list/collection of any certificates of awards, honors, and scholarships; a list of conferences, seminars, professional development activities, and workshops you’ve participated in and/or attended; a description of relevant courses, degrees, licenses, and certifications; a listing of your military service, if applicable; and references:
Additional Job-Seeker Resource:
Web Resume Rules
- Avoid using loud or busy background images
- Do not have your favorite song playing
- Avoid flashing images and blinking text
- Keep use of colors to a minimum — and use muted colors
- Limited use of all caps
- Normal usage of italics, bold, and underlining
- Have email link
- Link to online portfolio of projects
- Normal resume writing rules apply
Use all of our resume resources for job-seekers.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., creative director and associate publisher of Quintessential Careers, is an educator, author, and blogger who provides content for Quintessential Careers, edits QuintZine, an electronic newsletter for jobseekers, and blogs about storytelling in the job search at A Storied Career. Katharine, who earned her PhD in organizational behavior from Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, OH, is author of Dynamic Cover Letters for New Graduates and A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market (both published by Ten Speed Press), as well as Top Notch Executive Resumes (Career Press); and with Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., Dynamic Cover Letters, Write Your Way to a Higher GPA (Ten Speed), and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Study Skills (Alpha). Visit her personal Website or reach her by e-mail at kathy(at)quintcareers.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.