I've frequently received mail from readers infuriated by the fact that many job seekers and career professionals write the word resume rather than résumé with the accent marks over the two "e's." The grammar police can be seen out in full force on some occasions, and some people seem to revel in making their case by hyperlinking to the word's definition and proper spelling as shown in Merriam-Webster Online.
But there is actually a reason not to use the accent marks on the word resume in the online world. Many employers ask that resumes be copied and pasted into text boxes on their website, so they can be uploaded and tracked via the company's applicant tracking system. But when you convert the word resume with the accent marks into plain text, it shows up as r?sum?.
... Ouch, now that does look like a typo!
And that's not the only symbol that may not convert properly in a text-only format. You know those lovely bullets you have in front of each key point on your resume? They often change into question marks as well, once the document is converted into text. Imagine showcasing a great achievement like, "reduced costs by $1M dollars, in one year" and having that point show up with a question mark, almost as if you are questioning whether you really accomplished this feat at all!
If you plan on uploading your resume on sites that don't give you the option of including a Word attachment, or if you need to copy your resume and cover letter into a text box or e-mail, here's what you need to know about creating a text only version of your resume that reads properly.
- Save your Word document in .txt format (ASCII).
- Save document as text with line breaks.
- Set the page formatting to 60 characters per line.
- Omit bold, italics, and underlining from the document.
- Change double quotes to single quotes.
- Remove tabs, columns, and bullets and save document with single line space breaks.
- Eliminate non-ASCII symbols such as bullet points.
- Convert document to a fixed width font such as Courier New 12 point.
- Use spaces to line up texts instead of tabs.
- Left justify text; center text through use of spacing
That's certainly much better than sending an introductory letter that says, "My r?sum? is attached for your review." By the way, if you are wondering why I omitted using the accent marks in the word resume while writing this post, it's because the search engines don't read the accent marks properly either. And since most people search for this type of content using the search term resume and not r?sum? I thought this too was a good reason to have a "typo" in my post.
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