How To Format An E-Resume (With Types And Benefits)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 7 February 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An electronic resume or e-resume is a digital format of your printed resume that you may use to seek employment through online postings and digital submission platforms. Such resumes are a little different from physical ones, having specific formatting and a simple layout. Learning how to format your electronic resume can help you make this document compatible with different digital channels, which makes employers easily access your job application. In this article, we define an e-resume, discuss how to format this document and discover different types of this resume.

Related: 10 Ways To Pass Automated Screening For Resumes (With Tips)

What Is An E-Resume?

An e-resume is an electronic copy of a physical resume that professionals use during an online job application process. This digital document includes several types of resumes that you may use for online submissions. Many employers use online platforms and automated programs to receive, scan and categorise resumes when hiring qualified candidates for different roles in their organisations. To increase your exposure and ensure that applicant tracking software (ATS) tools recognise your accomplishments, prepare an electronic version of your existing resume. Such resumes generally have plain formatting with no special characters, images, visual elements or text variations.

An effective electronic resume aligns with the many requirements of ATS tools, like correct spelling and relevant educational qualifications and work experience. These programs are part of the first phase of an organisation's recruitment process. In this phase, an ATS tool scans, analyses and classifies your resume based on keywords that organisations mention in their job descriptions. To ensure that these programs select your resume while filtering the documents, focus on formatting it properly. For instance, add education-related keywords, edit the job titles aptly and adjust tense and word variations.

Related: What Is An Applicant Tracking System? Definition And Tips

How To Format An E-Resume?

Here are some steps you may review to efficiently format your electronic resume:

1. Include keywords

To format your electronic resume efficiently, integrate relevant keywords in the document. This way, the ATS tools easily select your resume amid the competition. To use the most effective keywords, read the job description of the opening thoroughly. You may also visit the company's website to identify commonly used words and phrases. Consider including 25-30 keywords, as ATS tools may not filter the documents properly if you use a lot of keywords. Some ATS tools accept different tenses and variations of words, but many may not. To make ATS tools filter your resume, use the exact words or phrases.

2. Remove formatting

If you are creating a web resume or a text resume, remove formatting from your original document. This way, you optimise your resume for ATS tools and keyword-searchable databases. Ensure that your name appears on the first line of the resume and does not contain any vertical and horizontal lines. Consider keeping the text of the document aligned with the left margin, as ATS tools may not properly scan centred text. For a clean resume format, consider removing these elements:

  • Bullets points

  • Headers

  • Colour schemes

  • Bold or italicised fonts

  • Special characters

  • Symbols

  • Hyperlinks

  • Graphics or images

3. Use simple fonts

Using simple fonts may help increase the chances of the document being noticed by ATS tools. Use the fonts that are common and easy to read, like Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica and Courier. This greatly optimises the electronic document for resume scanning software tools. Also, ensure that you use a font size larger than 10 but less than 15. You may use a font size of 10 or 11 for the most part of your resume and 14 or 15 for headers. This also allows you to improve the readability of the document.

Related: 6 Universal Rules For Resume Writing

4. Capitalise the text

Capitalise the text instead of using the text in bold. This helps you to differentiate the many sections of your electronic resume. Since bold may not allow ATS tools to filter your document properly, using capitalised words or headers may help you to increase the chances of hiring managers receiving your resume after being selected by ATS tools. You may capitalise your name or different headers, like education and work experience, to emphasise these details.

5. Use appropriate file formats

Portable Document Format (PDF) files allow you to preserve file data without affecting the integrity of a document, but many ATS programs may not filter resumes in this file type properly. There are many such tools that accept only certain types of file formats. Before uploading your resume on online resume submission platforms, check the list of acceptable file formats that the employer has released. If they have not mentioned a specific file format, you may upload your electronic resume as a .doc or .docx version of the file.

6. Use simple layouts and designs

Making an appealing resume helps you to impress hiring managers and show your character and personality, but when submitting an online job application, a simple layout and design of your resume may prove to be advantageous. Using a heavily designed resume with an irregular layout may not be compatible with ATS tools. When these tools scan resumes that have drastic designs, chances are that it chooses the wrong or distorted information for employers. This downgrades the value of your resume and hiring managers may not accept your application.

Related: Resume Format Guide (With Examples)

Types Of Electronic Resumes

Here are some types of commonly used electronic resumes:

Print resume

A print resume is a physical resume that you may scan or print to share with employers through online submission portals. Print resumes offer you a chance to personalise them using different fonts, formatting and colour schemes. Such resumes are a good option when applying for positions through online channels, like emails. Electronic resumes are effective when hiring managers require to read the document of each candidate directly. If you are using a print resume as an email attachment, ensure that you save the document in a format that the organisation has mentioned.

Text resume

A text resume is a plain-text document, which is a great option when you are submitting your resume to employers who have deployed an ATS system or keyword-searchable databases to filter applications. This type of resume is a simple document without special characters, symbols or variations in the font. Text resumes contain just the content of your resume, which you separate by single spaces and punctuation. This format is compatible with numerous operating systems and resume scanning programs. Here is when you may use a text resume:

  • For posting your resume on multiple job boards

  • For pasting portions of the document onto online profiles or employment websites

  • For pasting the resume into the e-mail body instead of sharing it as an attachment

  • For converting the resume from a print format to a web-based HyperText Markup Language (HTML) resume

Related: Professional Resume Samples To Help You Land A Job

Web resume

You use web resumes to publish the document on online portals and allow hiring managers to access your resume at any time. There are many uses of a web resume, like publishing it on a professional online profile, website or a portfolio. These resumes may often have a file extension, like .html or .htm. These extensions enable you to publish them on websites without compatibility issues. Here are some benefits of web-based resumes:

  • When you have a professional online networking profile

  • To help employers access your online resume conveniently

  • To include links to your portfolio in the resume

  • When you are pursuing technology-related jobs and show your technical skills

Related: 10 Best Skills To Include On A Resume (With Examples)

Benefits Of Electronic Resumes

Here are some benefits of using electronic resumes when seeking employment:

Aligning with ATS tools

ATS tools have an important role in the recruitment process, so aligning your electronic resume with these programs is essential. It helps hiring managers to scan your resume for keywords and notable qualifications. When you align a resume with the requirements of ATS tools, you ensure that you format the document in a way that these programs recognise the resume and select it for hiring managers, which is an important step in securing employment.

Ensuring consistency of formatting

To ensure consistency of formatting, it is essential to create and save your e-resume as the appropriate file type. Organisations may often specify what types of files they accept through their submission portals, so before uploading your resume, verify if your copy matches the file extension of the submission platform. Sometimes, employers also mention the file type for e-mail attachments, so save your resume accordingly. These steps ensure that hiring companies receive a resume that is organised and properly formatted.

Related: How To Make A Resume (With Examples)

Showing your computer skills

Employers seek candidates who possess advanced computer skills. When you create a resume that aligns with the requirements of ATS tools, it shows hiring managers that you know how to use and change file extensions. Creating an electronic resume requires you to have basic familiarity with HTML. When you create a web-based resume, it allows you to show your computer skills and helps you to impress hiring managers with your technical abilities.

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