Formatting Your Resume for the Internet

When sending a resume in an email or uploading your resume to a website, you want your resume to look as beautiful and read with the same impact that it has when you read it directly on your computer.

I work with all types of document extensions (that is, .doc, .txt, .docx, .pdf, .xls, .html, and others) on a daily basis.  I see many resumes.  I have found that the best word processing file format for a resume one that is created Microsoft Word© and saved with file the extension .doc.

Some website developers caution that Microsoft Word© can be problematic for web publishing software.  WordPress even has a special setting for dealing with Microsoft Word codes and has a help section on the problems with Apache Open Office formatted worksheets.  So I do not write a document in a worksheet and paste that document into my website.

However, the basic worksheet publishes on a web page and maintains the font settings for bold and normal, and works well as an upload or a copy and paste from a .doc.


 The following sentence, beginning with “This is a test,” is a direct copy and paste from a worksheet into this web page and did not involve any special settings.  Immediately after the copy and paste is a screenshot of the same worksheet.

This is a test of a copy and paste from a Microsoft Word worksheet as a direct copy and paste.



When writing a resume, avoid the tabs “insert” and “format.”

There is code in those tabs and that code delivers different results on different software.

Some people incorrectly believe that they can prevent their resume from being changed in any fashion by clicking the review tab at the top of a worksheet and clicking “Track Changes,” thereby marking up changes a person might make after receiving the resume.  However, a person can simply copy and paste the resume into a new document and save the new document instead of the one with the “Track Changes” setting and the markups on the document do not appear.

Therefore, you really do not want to use the “track changes” setting, because it can really make your resume ugly if it gets passed from person to person in a company’s hiring pyramid all marked up.  By the time your resume lands on the desk of the President of the hiring company, the resume may look something like this:



The brown paper bag of word processing is .txt (Notepad*).   Notepad is used most effectively as a text editor for websites and saved as an .html.  In .html, Notepad is the crown princess of the Internet.  However, it is not at all necessary to send your resume out in Notepad and have all the code and highlighting stripped out.  If you have your resume written in a worksheet .doc and paste your resume into a website form, most often, the forms strip the content down to text only.  Those forms with visual editors are not very common and are designed to work with worksheets.


Sending resumes through websites can be a challenging event.  A .pdf makes for a terrific downloading document.  However, for me they are kind of a brick, and if your resume gets passed through many hands on the way up to the executive office, somebody may need to make a note on your resume and may not be knowledgeable enough nor have the software to write on a .pdf.  As an aside and FYI, Google Documents can convert a .pdf to a worksheet, if you need to edit the document.  The service is free.

.docx:  .docx arrived with Microsoft Office 2007 and is very dynamic yet appears to be problematic for some people.   The issue with .docx is that some .html uploading software still cannot process .docx correctly and your resume may not get uploaded nor will the software indicate that the upload submission did not actually upload.  However, if you prefer to send us .pdf or .docx, we are fortunate to be able to handle anything short of a stone tablet.


I rarely see anyone use .xls (Microsoft Excel ) so if you are thinking about it, forget it.  I get about one resume a year in Excel or an .xls.  It marks a person as some who sees himself (never got an .xls from a woman) as the only person in step as the parade goes marching by.  Occasionally, I get emailed a linked resume (.html).  Really?  You want my computer to go to the trouble to pop open your link so I can see your resume on the World Wide Web.  And?  Just send me a .doc like the rest of sane humanity!