Committee Spotlights: Training – Formatting and Distributing Your Resume

by Julius Alberici and Curlin Beck
This month we are going to discuss some tips on creating and distributing your resume. It is assumed that you will create your resume using one of the versions of Microsoft Word. Initially you will want to format your resume so that it looks good. However, it is also likely that you will want to download your resume when you apply for positions on company websites and also e-mail it to people. This becomes easier if you adhere to a few simple rules when you create your resume in Word:

  • Your header should be in block format with your name, address, phone numbers, and e-mail address all on separate lines.
  • Avoid using multiple columns or tables as part of your resume format.
  • If your resume is more than one page, put your name in the upper left and your telephone number in the upper right on each of the subsequent pages.

You should save your resume in 3 formats:

  1. Microsoft Word format. Older versions of Word will by default save your document as a .doc file. Word 2007 or later versions will by default save your document in a .docx file format. Unfortunately, if you send the Word version of your resume to someone who has an older version of Word (pre-2007), they will not be able to open a .docx file easily. However, newer versions of Word do give you the ability to save your file in a ―Word 97 – 2003 format‖ which is a .doc file. You could lose some formatting by saving in the older format, but it is unlikely, and anyone you send it to who is using Word will be able to open it.
  2. Text (.txt format). To prepare your resume to be uploaded as part of your application on a company website, you will want to resave your file in either Rich Text (.rtf) or Text (.txt) format. To do this, open the Windows application called WordPad. This can be done by clicking on the Windows Start icon at the bottom left of your screen and then clicking on All Programs and looking for a yellow folder called Accessories. When you click on Accessories, you will find the application WordPad at the bottom of the Accessories list. Once you have WordPad open, go to your Word document and highlight the entire document and then right-click and select Copy. Then open a document in WordPad and in the document, do a right-click on the mouse and select Paste. Your resume will now be in WordPad. Then do a Save As in WordPad: enter the file name, and in the Save As Type field, select Rich Text format (.rtf), or go to the drop-down menu and select Text Format (.txt). Once your document is in text format, you can edit it in WordPad. Review the text document. Remember to remove your name and phone number on all pages after the first one. You do not need to make this look pretty, because when you upload your resume as part of your on-line application, it will be scanned by a computer; formatting will only hinder the computer scanning the document and could result in your application being rejected.
  3. .pdf file format. If you are e-mailing your resume to someone, this is the best format to use. Your document will be nicely formatted, and you can be certain that it will look exactly as you want it when the person receiving it opens it. Word 2007 and Word 2010 versions will have an option to convert the file to .pdf format. The following Microsoft web pages give instructions specific to the version of Word you are using:

If you have an older version of Word, then the simplest way to create a .pdf version of your resume is to print the Word version and then take it to a scanner and chose to scan it to a .pdf format. Many of today’s multi-purpose printer/scanners have a .pdf scan option.
The final option to convert your Word file to .pdf format is to download a free PDF converter. If you want to do this, a popular website that provides downloads of software, much of it free, is CNET. Go to and then go to the Downloads tab and search for PDF converters.

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