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Do you do a lot of job hunting on the Internet? Have you ever noticed how messed up a resume can look when you're trying to copy and paste it into an email for employers who say they won't accept resume attachments? Here is a simple way to turn your resume into a document that can be used in any email format.
How to convert your Resume from MS Word to ASCII (Text Only) Format
Open your resume document in MS Word. You'll probably notice that it has some formatting, such as bold and italics to highlight certain portions of the resume. You may also have some bullets or numbering that were used to accentuate various statements. There could be em-dashes and en-dashes used as hyphens between words or numbers. The font may be one that is not recognized an email program that only accepts text messages. There will probably be some tabs used, as well. All of these things can lead to strange characters in the text and misalignment in the body of the resume when you copy and paste it into the body of an email. In the next steps you'll learn how to create a .txt file with your current MS Word version that won't create those problems.
Now that you have your resume open in MS Word, click on "File." Look down the File Menu and find the "Save As" menu item. Click on it. A window will open. In the text box for the document name, you'll see that the file name includes the extension ".doc." Delete .doc from the file name and add "ASCII" to the end of the file name. Directly below the file name is a drop-down menu. Click on the arrow and go down the list until you see the menu item "Plain Text (*.txt)." Click on that item. Now click on the "Save As" button in the lower right-hand corner of the window. There will be two more screens on which you'll want to click the okay button. When those are cleared, you're document has been saved as a text-only file.
It may appear that no changes have been made. That's because you didn't save the changes to the .doc file, you saved them to a different file. You'll have to close the current document. Then, click of the File Menu, again. You'll see a list of your most recent documents. Click on the one that says yourfilenameASCII.txt. It will open the text-only document that you just created. When you view this document you should see that everything has been aligned to the left side of the document window, except for where there a tabs and other formatting that interferes.
At this point, you should make all necessary alignment adjustments using only spaces. Take out all of the tabs. Replace all of the bullets with an asterisk. Change headings to all capital letters for emphasis, rather than bolding or italicizing. Depending on the original formatting, you might have to spend several minutes on this part. Things tend to get a bit more mixed up if you used tables in the word formatted resume. When you're all done click the save icon on the menu bar at the top left side of the document window. You'll see the same two screens you saw when you first saved the resume as a text file. Click "Okay" on both screens. Voile! Your done.
Now, your ready to send your resume in the body of any email and it will get through to a potential employer with no problem. Start your email. Write your cover letter. Then, if its not already open, open your text-only resume. If you're opening it from the documents menu on the start button, or from your documents folder, it will open in MS Notepad. Either way, click on the "Edit" menu button. Then, click on "Select All." Click "Edit," again. Click on "Copy." Now click inside the email window where you wrote your cover letter. Press the "Control" and "Paste" keys on your keyboard, at the same time. You're newly formatted ASCII resume will appear in the email, all nicely aligned and without those annoying characters.
- You can also select all of your resume text by pressing "Ctrl" and "A." You can also copy everything after selecting all by pressing "Ctrl" and "C."
Laila Clark-Salaam has been writing for over 20 years in various industries and genres. She has worked as an SEO content writer and has self-published one non-fiction book, a children's book, and a young teen novelette. She has written a number of technical papers and user manuals for high-profile companies and worked as a resume writer and job search coach for 9 years.