By LAURA T. COFFEY
According to a recent survey, more than 82 percent of recruiters said they prefer to receive electronic resumes from job candidates. That's not to say you'll never have to worry about formatting and printing the perfect paper resume again, but it does mean it's important to learn how to sell yourself via e-mail and on the Web.
1. Follow instructions. Above all else, submit your materials exactly the way the employer wants to see them. If a company specifies that it only accepts hard copies of resumes, don't send yours via e-mail. If e-mail is preferred but attachments are not, don't send an attachment.
2. Consider text files. Text-only files can be recognized and read on any computer. They are ideal when sending your resume as the body of an e-mail message or posting your resume on job Web sites. One disadvantage: Their plain Jane appearance rules out any eye-catching formatting.
3. A word about attachments. Send one when the company requests Microsoft Word, WordPerfect or rich-text-file formats, which allow for specialized formatting. Words of caution: The formatting could become slightly skewed, and the files may not be compatible with older e-mail programs.
4. When it has to look just right. Send a PDF -- a digital image, or photograph, of your resume -- when appearance really matters and the company asks for that format. A PDF can be e-mailed, posted on the Internet, viewed with free Acrobat Reader software, printed and searched on any type of computer.
5. For Web-bound resumes. You can sidestep software compatibility problems and make your resume look just right -- with links, graphics and video or audio clips -- by using HTML format and posting your resume on the Internet.
6. Plan for scans. Large companies often use automated software programs to scan resumes into a database. To ensure that your resume will be scanned properly, remove graphics such as lines and bullets, use common fonts such as Times Roman and Courier, and choose a font size between 10 and 14 points.
7. Include keywords. Sprinkle keywords, such as job titles, responsibilities, skills, education and industry-specific terms, throughout your resume. Use strong nouns, such as "manager," to grab attention.
8. Cover letters always count. No matter how fancy or high-tech your resume is, it will all be for naught unless you include a well-written cover letter. Send the letter in the body of your e-mail message.
9. Cover your bases. To play it safe, send a copy of your resume in the body of your e-mail message, even if the employer requested another format. Some attachments may never get opened because of compatibility issues or concerns about viruses.
10. One last precaution. After sending your e-resume, it's probably wise to follow up with a hard copy unless the employer says not to send one. That extra step will provide the employer with a backup copy and demonstrate how much you want the job.
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