Online Resume Formats

The 3 most common online resume formats used today include ASCII Text, HTML and PDF.
The information below should be read with a basic understanding of these 3 formats for online resumes. See also our article on Scannable Resumes.
ASCII Text is the text that is typically used in an email message. HTML is the language most commonly used to build web pages.
The PDF format is Adobe’s format for presenting documents that are embedded within the page, and cannot be edited by common word processing editors. All the free resume templates on this site are available for download in PDF format.
If you are not familiar with ASCII Text, HTML or PDF online resume formats, then you should do some further research.

ASCII Text Online Resumes

ASCII Text Resumes are the most commonly used format for posting an online resume to an online job board or sending your resume through an email. If you are going to submit your resume to online job boards such as, you need to ensure that you properly format your online resume in ASCII Text.

General Rules for Converting Resumes to ASCII Text:

    • Do not centre information on the document.
    • Ensure that all information is left justified.
    • Remove all bullets & replace with an ASCII Character ( * or – ).
    • Ensure there are no extra tabs or character returns in the doc.
    • Avoid grouping too much information. Put spaces between headings.

Recommendation: It’s always a good idea to copy your resume into a text editor or save as a text file and format the resume in a text editor. Do not copy and paste directly from your word processing software into an online text box because you may accidentally copy some of the hidden character marks.

HTML Online Resumes

HTML is the language used by web browsers to display web content. HTML controls format, fonts, margins, layouts, colors, tables, links and various other items on a web page. For programmers or software developers, HTML is a fairly simple language, but for a novice it can be difficult to understand. The main problem with HTML is that it is not really standardized, and may display differently depending on the type of browser used to view the web page. HTML online resumes will also look different, depending on the user’s browser settings.

General Rules for Online resumes in HTML format:

        • Carefully check your code. View the resume on various browsers.
        • Tables can be used to effectively format content.
        • Use common fonts like Times New Roman or Arial.
        • HTML Editors, Microsoft® FrontPage® are useful in developing HTML resumes.
        • View your resume look using various font sizes in the browser.
        • Check to see how your resume appears using various screen resolutions (800600, 1024768, etc).

PDF Online Resumes

The .pdf format is becoming very popular as an alternative format to HTML– However a word of caution: You may not want to send in a graphics-based or PDF-based resume. HR software can’t really penetrate graphics to scan and compile data on you. It will only show pretty pictures and give nothing back to a human resources manager. You should stick to MS Word documents because they are universally accepted and it will cause fewer problems for the software to read.
If You know you can safely send a PDF, the benefit of the PDF format is that the document is “embedded.” Therefore, it is not browser dependent and will look the same regardless of the user’s browser. It does require that the viewer has the Adobe® Acrobat® viewer installed on their machine. Nowadays almost all users will have this. Converting a document to PDF format is also straight forward with Microsoft® Word® having the ability through the SAVE AS function to convert the document into a PDF.
As another option, there are online web sites that can convert document formats by simply uploading your document and emailing the converted product to you.

Free Online Resume Builder – Use our examples to create your new resume in minutes!