Send your resume out in plain text unless the job description specifies that you can use another particular file type. You cannot assume that everyone in the world has Word or PDF programs installed on their computers, and making your digital resume overly fancy may cause you to miss some opportunities. Your goal is to catch the attention of a hiring manager and give information about your expertise through a resume, and if it takes more than 30 seconds to actually open your file you might have already lost your chance. A plain text resume is really simple and direct and cuts right to the substance, and I have found that it was the most effective resume formatting for my job searches in the past. My next post will be a simple guide to creating a plain text resume.


Writers of plain text resumes should not use any characters or formatting not found on a standard keyboard. Boldface, italics, and underlining are unavailable, as are tabs, bullets, and multiple font sizes. But alternative attention-getting devices are still useful; asterisks and plus signs can replace bullets, rows of dashes can separate sections, and all capital letters can emphasize headings.

editing your plain text resume save it one more time

... plain text resume is easy to copy and paste into the body of any email

Before you cut and paste your resume it's best to convert it to a an ASCII text only file. Word processors like MS Word and Word Perfect have hidden charcters in the text and will show up in your resume as odd looking characters. Typically you simply open your resume, select "save as" and select plain text. Close your Word processor and open the new plain text resume with a simple text editor like "MS Notepad" or Apple's Simple Text. Some of your formatting will dissappear. Look at your resume and reformat it using the plain text editor. When you're done editing then you can copy and paste your resume from the text editor and have confidence that it will look good. There is a 4,000 charater limit for the cut-n-paste resume.