Sunday, August 10, 2008

How to Format an E-mail Resume

With the ubiquity of computers today, electronic resume submission is gaining popularity and is a method of accelerating the application process. There are a few airlines that will accept online resumes via email. If you have a choice, submit both a hard copy and an online resume, but make sure you follow the electronic resume guidelines below. Although your resume may appear to be in a perfect "email-ready" format, quite often an email recipient will see something entirely different. Without the proper formatting (described below), excess spacing and line-breaks can wreak havoc on your email resume, making you look very unprofessional.

Most airlines prefer email resumes in ASCII format. ASCII, which stands for American Standard Code for Information Exchange, is synonymous with "plain-text." This type of resume can be read by virtually any computer in the world. However, when you convert your resume to plain-text (ASCII), all formatting is lost. No longer will there be bold, underlined or italicized subheads. Bullets will also be lost. Basically, anything you are not able to type on a standard keyboard will be gone. This is the price you pay for compatibility.

Besides converting your resume to plain-text format, there are many more steps involved in creating an email resume.

Follow these step-by-step guidelines to create your email resume:

1. Compose your resume in a word processor, preferably Microsoft Word.

2. Format the entire document exactly as follows:

*Set left and right margins to 1" (6 1/2" width). In Microsoft Word, select Page Setup from the File menu. Then click on the Margins tab to set your left and right margins to 1".

*Select all of the text. In Microsoft Word, from the Edit menu, choose Select All.

*Change font to Courier or any other non-proportional, fixed-width font.

*Change point size to 12.

*Use "Save As..." to save your resume as "Text Only with Line Breaks."

3. Launch your text editor (Notepad for Windows or SimpleText for Mac).

4. From the text editor's File menu, choose Open. Then locate and open your file (if Notepad or SimpleText is your default text editor, you can double-click on the .txt file to launch the editor and open the file in one step).

5. View the file within the text editor. This is exactly how your email resume will look to recipients, so you will want to clean it up. Begin by replacing all unsupported characters with their ASCII equivalent. For example, in certain versions of Microsoft Word, bullets appear as question marks. You should replace these with asterisks or hyphens. How do you know if a character is an ASCII-equivalent character? All keyboard characters are safe to use.

You also may notice some undesirable line-breaks before the ends of sentences. This is because the width of each line is limited to 65 characters for compatibility with most email programs. You can try to fix these formatting problems by making the line-break come earlier, but be sure not to exceed the 65 character limit by extending the line.

6. Once you are happy with the appearance of your resume, save it, choose Select All from the Edit menu, and copy it to the clipboard.

7. Open your email program and compose a new email message using yourself as the recipient. In the body of the message paste the copied version of your resume and send it to yourself.

8. When you receive your resume via email, look it over carefully. This is exactly how your resume will look to recipients. If there are still spacing or layout errors, go back to the saved version of your resume in the text editor and make the necessary changes. Your work is not complete until you successfully send yourself (and a friend) the email resume properly formatted.

9. You now have a perfectly formatted resume to email to the airlines. Be sure to make your cover letter email-safe as well; never send an email resume without a cover letter pasted above it in the body of the message.

Note: AirlineCareer.com members have access to downloadable versions of our sample resume, cover and thank-you letters, and fax cover sheet. Each template, including our sample resume, is meticulously tailored for airline hiring departments. Simply download the appropriate files and edit the data to quickly build your arsenal of application tools. Files are available in Microsoft® Word, Corel® WordPerfect for Windows, and plain-text format.

For information on how we can help you become a flight attendant in less than six months, visit AirlineCareer.com.

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