Apr 23

Format your resume for online application

Hire G.I Career Center

In this digital era, the usefulness of having a resume that looks amazing on paper isn’t as important as having one that’s formatted well for online applications. After spending so much time agonizing over the spacing, formatting, and details of your resume to make it look perfect when it’s printed, you’d likely not given any thought to what it looks like when you format it in an online job portal. The truth is that if you don’t spend time formatting for online portals, your impressive resume is going to look like an amateur created it, thanks to weird spacing, formatting mistakes, and jumbled sections. Here’s the easiest (and fastest!) way to fix it.

Why formatting matters

Formatting matters for several reasons. First, if the program version you used to write your resume isn’t the same version a hiring manager uses, then the formatting is going to be off. That’s one of the many reasons why most jobs require you to put all of your information in their portals. Secondly, formatting shows that you’ve taken the time to evaluate your resume based on two criteria: what you’re presenting and how it looks.

Using plain text formatting means that you’re able to copy and paste your resume into any format that the employer requests – without having to recreate it each time. To do this, follow this simple checklist.

If you’ve created a resume in Word, copy the entire document and open Notepad (on Windows) or TextEdit (on Mac).

Paste the complete resume into a new doc and save as plain text. It’s just that easy.

This helps eliminate funky spacing since that’s one the first things that suffers when you cut and paste your resume into an online portal.

Format appropriately

Once you’ve created your plain text version, make sure that you’re following some of the most basic formatting rules. Justify everything to the left side of the page. Centering your name or address or any of the subheadings on your resume might not translate well when it gets transferred over, so it’s easier to just keep everything toward the left.

Next, make sure you’re using non-proportional fonts that keep all letters the same size. Avoiding bold, italics, and bullet points are also good ideas since none of those transfer well.

If the online portal gives you the option of reviewing the resume once you’ve copy and pasted it, take advantage of the double-check to make sure everything still looks good. It’s possible that some portals are just a little finicky, and you might need to do a bit of clean up to make things look perfect.

This might seem like just another thing to do in your job search, and you’re right – it is one more step to landing the job of your dreams. If you’re a little discouraged, ask yourself what’s more important to you at this moment. Would you rather make every effort to ensure your resume is the best possible? Or is your potential new career worth cutting corners? Ultimately it’s up to you, but as a former military member, we’re banking that you’re going to do it the right way because that’s the only way.