Online Resume Tips

PNN Employment Tip - March 2012
Today job candidates are submitting their resumes online more frequently than ever.  Whether you’re sending in your resume through e-mail or through an online application form, there are ways to help you reach the top of the pile.  Here are some tips to keep in mind when submitting your resume online.
Do start off with your strongest points
Consider your resume as you would your ‘elevator pitch’.  A potential employer is going to open the application you just e-mailed to him or her.  Then they will look it over for 15 or 20 seconds before forming an opinion.  In this time you must convince the person to open your e-mail, read your message and not delete your e-mail.  Once you’ve passed this stage the employer will proceed to take a deeper look at your application.
Don’t discount the value of a tailored cover letter
This is generally the first thing an employer sees when they open your application.  You should make sure that you use key words from the job posting.  You would be surprised how many people don’t include a cover letter in their job applications.  Let your passion for this job and your perfect skill fit shine in a cover letter written specifically for each job and for each company you apply to. 
Do make your resume computer-friendly
The last thing you want to do is to produce a resume that is difficult to read on a computer screen.  Keep your type to the left side of the page so that the copy is easy to read. Don’t use fancy formatting that won’t appear online; keep it simple.  Make sure there is sufficient space between lines so that the resume will appear attractive in various software programs. Some employers may also prefer that your cover letter and resume be in one attachment instead of two, and ideally in a PDF format.
Don’t rely on your computer’s spell check
This may be a good start for detecting typographical errors, but your computer’s spell check won’t necessarily pick up on everything.  Four example, their are several mis-takes in these sentence that my computer didn’t pic up – can you find them?  There are plenty of organizations available to give your resume a look through for errors.  Check Professions North/Nord’s website under Community Resources for some resume help near you.
Don’t use an unprofessional e-mail address
It’s a good idea to use a professional e-mail address for managing job-related e-mails.  Which e-mail address sounds more professional in your opinion: [email protected] or [email protected]?  You can create your new e-mail address for free through or other domain names.
Do track where you’ve posted your resume
It’s very important to remember where you’ve posted your resume and to track this information.  A simple spreadsheet can be helpful.  For example it could include the date you submitted your application, the organization, the contact person, the follow-up response, etc.  This way you won’t accidentally send in your application twice by mistake!
P.S.  An elevator pitch is a 30-second (or less) summary of all your best attributes that succinctly and clearly defines who you are and what you do.  It is your value proposition.  Learn more about this in a future employment tip.