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How do I make my resume email friendly?
December 9, 2009 3:38 PM   Subscribe

What can I do to make my resume more email friendly?

Also: Do I need to do anything? Maybe this isn't as bad as I think.

Problem: I wrote a resume using Word Perfect (a lot of people laugh whenever I mention Word Perfect, so I realize I might be in way over my head). When I test send it to myself and hit my resume attachment to see what happens (via g-mail) a box opens up where Word Perfect itself first uploads, then my resume opens up (not as a unique page, but as a page obviously within the context of Word Perfect - that is, as though the person is viewing my work-in-progress via WP).

Something tells me this is seriously awkward.

What I would like is for the potential employer to hit my resume attachment and have it simply open up to my resume. Or, if there is something even better (that I am woefully unaware of), I want that.

How do I (where do I) upload this WP document in my computer to make this possible?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
posted by marimeko to Technology (25 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Export it as plain text (.txt file). print/export it as a PDF file.
posted by GuyZero at 3:44 PM on December 9, 2009


I wish I knew what that meant..!
posted by marimeko at 3:50 PM on December 9, 2009


My technique for universal resume accessibility:

I maintained versions in plain text and in OpenOffice. I'd have OpenOffice generate a PDF. When I email, the former is in the body; the PDF is attached.

OpenOffice is not important here. That it could generate a PDF is the important part; anything that can do that would be satisfactory.

(On preview, what GuyZero said. Except that I wouldn't trust a word processor's text output of something like a resume to be usable without hand-retouching.)
posted by Zed at 3:50 PM on December 9, 2009


I print to a pdf. Attach the pdf to the email cover. I can also link to it as a Google Document if need be.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 3:53 PM on December 9, 2009


I think I'm getting the gist (thank you both)..
posted by marimeko at 3:53 PM on December 9, 2009


Can you save your WordPerfect document as an RTF?
posted by k8t at 3:55 PM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


You can either download OpenOffice.org, which is a free word processor that can save to pdf, or you can download PrimoPDF which lets you save anything as a PDF by acting like a printer.
posted by amethysts at 3:55 PM on December 9, 2009


I receive/read/process thousands of resumes every year, and many hundreds that arrive in my own e-mail.

The professional ones are fwded to me as PDFs. In my own e-mail, I will read three kinds: PDF attachment, text-in-body-of-email, or link to web page.

Anything else, including Word attachments, doesn't get looked at.

Use a PDF.
posted by rokusan at 4:08 PM on December 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


What I would like is for the potential employer to hit my resume attachment and have it simply open up to my resume.

This is somewhat of a confusing wish. Your resume exists as a file -- some program will be required to view it. Which program that is depends on how your resume is formatted and saved.

Right now it sounds like your document is saved as a WordPerfect file (does the filename end in .wpd?), which is concerning since not many people own WordPerfect. So those that do have WordPerfect, will open it up in WordPerfect (as happens on your computer), those that don't have WordPerfect just won't be able to open it at all, or may see it differently from how you want them to.

In any case, you probably want to save your resume as a different filetype, one that can be opened by a program more likely to be on the computer of the person receiving your resume! People above suggested (and I agree), saving it as either .rtf or .pdf.

A "rich text file" (.rtf) can definitely be opened on anyone's computer. You can easily save your resume to ".rtf" right from WordPerfect. Just open your resume in WordPerfect, go to "Save As" and it should give you different formats to choose. Select "Rich Text File" or ".rtf". The problem with this format is your document's layout may not work as-is and have to be simplified a bit. Give it a try and see if it's acceptable.

A "portable document format" (.pdf) file can almost certainly be opened on anyone's computer, as well. It also preserves layout and formatting better. This is the format I generally send my resume out in. However, it may be a little trickier to save as this format. If you're on a Mac, you're in luck, it's easy! Open the file, go to Print, and you should see an option to "Save as PDF". If you're on Windows, I don't know how to do it. However, feel free to MeFi mail me to send me your resume and I can try to convert it for you.
posted by losvedir at 4:14 PM on December 9, 2009


So everyone agrees on PDF (yes!), but I'm perplexed by those saying text-in-body-of-email.

What?

This is where your cover letter goes, no? Or at the very least, a "Dear Mr. Responsible, per our previous discussion regarding opportunities at AwesomeCorp, here is my resume." (BTW, this is the best of all AskMe cover letter questions.)
posted by whatzit at 4:17 PM on December 9, 2009


I include the resume-as-text beneath whatever cover letter I write.
posted by Zed at 4:33 PM on December 9, 2009


Can I draft a tailor-made resume within an email? Is that totally unprofessional?
posted by marimeko at 4:42 PM on December 9, 2009


Can I draft a tailor-made resume within an email? Is that totally unprofessional?

Don't do this. Resumes get copied and passed around and need to be as easy to read/print as possible. Also, if someone applied for a job from me, and did this, I would think they were completely computer illiterate, which might disqualify them from the job (depending on the natire of the job). PDF is the best for this- it makes the document unalterable and prserves all formatting. At most, you just need to download a program like PrimoPDF linked above, or CutePDF Writer to convert your file to PDF.
posted by whodatninja at 5:01 PM on December 9, 2009


I'm perplexed by those saying text-in-body-of-email. What? This is where your cover letter goes, no? Or at the very least, a "Dear Mr. Responsible, per our previous discussion regarding opportunities at AwesomeCorp, here is my resume."

Yes, usually. Though it's not really a cover "letter", since e-mails don't have all the same block-arranged salutations and other legacy typewriter formatting.

But if the resume is right there too, I'll read it, and often not even bother opening the PDF. Some people include both: the introduction as you mention, followed by a line of hyphens or something and then the content of the actual resume in plain text... and then that resume is also attached as a PDF.

That's pretty polite and a little sweet of them, since e-mail is so searchable, while PDF attachments in the e-mail aren't really. It's easy to imagine answering "Who was that person from Rutgers with the rockclimbing hobby?" by searching e-mail. Digging through PDFs, less likely.

(Yes, one could store and index all PDFs for searching. But who does that?)
posted by rokusan at 5:13 PM on December 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Custom tailored resumes are smart, because nothing gets you rejected quicker than a pile of unrelated or irrelevant experience... but make actual different PDF versions. I don't think it makes sense to send different content in the e-mail vs the attachment. That could cause all sorts of confusion.

Call your PDFs "My Resume (Artistic)" and "My Resume (Volunteer Experience)" or whatever you need for your own filing... but rename the correct one to just "Meri Meko Resume.pdf" when you send it.
posted by rokusan at 5:16 PM on December 9, 2009


Save it as a PDF and mention in your email functioning as a cover letter to please contact you if they experience any difficulties opening it (which they won't because Adobe Acrobat Reader is free and everywhere). Do not paste your resume into the body of the email . It will look unprofessional and call your computer skills into question. Good luck!
posted by katemcd at 5:33 PM on December 9, 2009


Do not paste your resume into the body of the email . It will look unprofessional and call your computer skills into question.

Disagree strongly. As explained above, I actually appreciate this as an in-addition-to. The PDF is the important part, but the included-in-body, while not essential, is a possible plus.

(Anyone who can format something that looks good in 72-character, hard-returned ASCII impresses the hell out of me, from a computer skills standpoint. That takes much more computer savvy than making something in Word.)

Granted, most of my experience is with creatives and programmers. Maybe this would be odd from a receptionist or lawyer.
posted by rokusan at 5:36 PM on December 9, 2009


I second the suggestion to download PrimoPDF for free and just print to PDF. It's simple - once you've installed it, just "print" as you would normally, but select PrimoPDF as the printer.

Re: text resumes, a lot of online job applications will actually process whatever resume file you upload into an ugly, misformatted plaintext which you must manually correct. So I can see the use in having a plaintext version of your resume handy.
posted by pravit at 6:25 PM on December 9, 2009


I guess that is what I'm getting at "..a lot of online job applications will actually process whatever resume file you upload into an ugly, misformatted plaintext.." - not "copying" anything into an email, but creating a onetime resume for a specific comapany - just for that company/applicatiin for a job.

Is that unprofessional?
posted by marimeko at 7:03 PM on December 9, 2009


If you're on Windows, the easiest way I know to make a PDF out of anything you can print is to install CutePDF Writer. This works similarly to the PrimoPDF that amethysts linked to above, but it has fewer options and is correspondingly less fiddly.

Once you've installed either of these (or both, if you want to compare them and see which one you like) you will find an extra printer available to you. For example, if you open your existing resume in WordPerfect and then print it, you should be able to choose CutePDF from the drop-down list of printers in WordPerfect's print dialog box.

Anything you print to the CutePDF printer will make it pop up another box asking where your PDF should be saved. Browse to the folder you want to put it in, click OK and you're done.

If you don't already have a PDF reader installed on your PC (and most people do - it's pretty hard to avoid an Adobe Acrobat Reader infection, one way or another), install Foxit Reader. I like version 2.3 better than any of the 3.x ones.
posted by flabdablet at 7:16 PM on December 9, 2009


"but creating a onetime resume for a specific comapany - just for that company/applicatiin for a job. "
That's probably the best thing you could do. They only want to see what's relevant to their position, so the more personalized it is the better. Other companies don't see the resumes you send to other companies, unless you screw up and send them the wrong one.
posted by amethysts at 7:30 PM on December 9, 2009


Oh, and preparing a customized résumé for each job application is not the least bit unprofessional. Doing that allows you to leave out stuff that isn't relevant for that job, which leaves you more room to talk about stuff that is, while keeping the thing short enough that somebody might actually read it.
posted by flabdablet at 7:34 PM on December 9, 2009


Great points - taking all into consideration!
posted by marimeko at 7:57 PM on December 9, 2009


Customizing your resume for a particular position is smart and will never hurt you. In fact, it will probably come across as much more professional than your generic resume, and will reinforce whatever you say in your cover letter/email.

As for copying and pasting your resume into the body of the email, personal preference certainly varies, but having participated in many job searches, in corporate, academic, administrative, and creative fields, I have rarely seen it. As an additional format to an attachment, I guess it wouldn't hurt, but when I commented against it, I was referring to the idea of that being the only format you would use. I guess my perspective is that while someone may or may not be impressed by a plain text resume pasted into an email, I've never heard anyone express disdain for a pdf/scanned file. Since you can't possibly know all the personalities involved, I'd go with the safer choice, especially if it isn't much of a cost or inconvenience to you. If you haven't already, talked to people in your field and see what is common practice. My guess is that this could vary depending on profession.
posted by katemcd at 8:31 PM on December 9, 2009


creating a onetime resume for a specific comapany - just for that company/applicatiin for a job.

Not only is that acceptable, it's a best practice. It shows me you can get to the point, and also suggests that you actually realize what you're applying for, and care about it.

Using one generic resume that lists every silly job and activity you have had, no matter how little of it applies to the position you're applying for... that would be unprofessional. It shows that this particular application means nothing special to you, and you're treating it like just another generic job.

(This is also foolish, since you have a high risk of coming out looking like a scattered and underqualified applicant.)
posted by rokusan at 8:48 PM on December 9, 2009


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