Great Resumes Fast » Resume Writing Tips » Tips for Electronic Resumes

I thought this was pretty good information about electronic resumes. I disagree with the comment about personality descriptors, I do not think they should be excluded completely – but used sparingly to enhance your keyword-rich, accomplishment-oriented resume. Please keep in mind Karen’s tips are for ASCII (Plain Text) resumes – what you would use to post to job boards. Plain text resumes have completely different specifications then the Word or PDF doc resumes a professional resume writer creates.

This article is courtest of Karen Burns, Working Girl.

Your job hunt should never consist solely of submitting your resume to the online job boards. You need to be out there in the real world networking with real people.

But you do still need to know how to format your resume so it can be submitted online and/or be scanned.

Hence, here are a dozen tips to get you started:

1. Guess what, for electronic resumes you no longer have to worry about that old one-page rule. If fact, be too short and you may appear underqualified. Make your resume as long as it needs to be.

2. Forget fluffy terms like “results oriented,” “goal-driven,” “excellent communications skills,” “multitasker,” “team player,” etc. Resume software doesn’t look for words like these. It looks for skills, certifications, and job titles.

3. To convey those skills, use nouns rather than verbs. Say “software engineer” instead of “engineered software for blah blah blah.” Include certifications, courses you’ve taken, any applicable training.

4. Don’t bother including a career objective. Really, no one cares. And it takes up valuable space.

5. Hard copies should be designed to be scannable and be printed clearly on bright white paper. Mail them flat in a big envelope. No folding, no staples.

6. If you’re submitting online, format in a text file, not as a Word document (or even as HTML).

7. No column or table formats. Everything should be on its own line.

8. Use common fonts (Times Roman, Courier, Helvetica) in a normal size (11 to 14).

9. Only left margin justification (the right margin should be ”rag right”).

10. No boxes, shadows, shading, graphics, underlines, italics, horizontal or vertical lines, or colors.

11. No bullets. Asterisks are a reasonable substitute.

12. No hard returns.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!


  1. Anonymous on November 27, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Hey really nice post. Thanks a lot for good resume writing tips. Thanks for writing this excellent resume. That’s really interesting Thanks very much for the advice.

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