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How to Create a Resume in HTML

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Creating a resume in HTML allows you to post a resume online. By using HTML, you can standardize the format so that it looks the same to all readers, regardless of the internet browser they use.

What Is HTML?

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. It’s used to format content that will be posted on the World Wide Web. The applications for HTML can be quite complex, but for the purpose of creating a resume, the code is fairly simple to master. By using HTML, you can control common resume elements such as font, line and paragraph spacing, color and graphics. You can also embed a link to your website or online professional portfolio if applicable.

How Does HTML Work?

To explain it in basic terms, HTML tags content, giving the computer software instructions as to how the content is to be displayed. For any word or group of words, you provide code to both turn on and turn off a function. For example, if you want to format your name as the title of your resume, you would do it like this:

<title>Jane Smith</title>

You’re essentially telling the computer to “title” and “not title.”

Commonly used HTML codes include the following:

  • <head>...</head>: Contains information about the webpage, not the actual content
  • <body>...</body>: Encloses all the content of the webpage
  • <h1>...</h1>: Creates a section heading
  • <p>...</p>: Applies spacing for a paragraph
  • ...: For embedding a link

HTML formatting gets a little more complicated when you’re selecting font design and size. If you want to format for a common font such as Arial, the code looks like this:

<font face="Arial">Text goes here.</font>

Font point sizes range from 1 (smallest) to 7 (largest). Most browsers have a default size setting of 2 or 3 points. If you want your text to display as large as possible, the code would look like this:

<font size="7">Text goes here.>/font>

Notice that you must use more symbols than the left and right brackets to specify font. You’ve got to use an equal sign and quotation marks, and you cannot add any spaces. Failing to close the quotation mark or closing a bracket renders code useless. It takes careful proofreading to find the mistake when your content does not appear on the webpage as you planned.

For basic coding, HTML is fairly intuitive. It’s easy to remember that <p> is “paragraph” and <h2> is a heading. Coding for color is more complicated. A light gray background, for example, would be coded as: #e6e6e6. You’d remember it if you used it often enough, but if you’re new at HTML, you’d have to look at a chart to be able to code it correctly. There are reference books, much like a dictionary, to look up HTML codes. Plenty of free sources also are available online.

Why Re-Invent the Wheel?

Unless you want to start from scratch to code your resume into HTML, you can use a template from a free online source such as Job Monkey. An HTML code for a resume download is easy to use since all the coding is done for you. There’s a link to see what the resume looks like when the browser reads the HTML code. All you have to do is input your own information, then copy and paste it to the website where you want it to appear.

Resume Content

Although you can compose your resume directly into the HTML template, you might want to create your content first in a word processing program such as Microsoft Word or Apple Pages. That way, you can focus on the wording and not get distracted by the formatting.

Remember: The goal of a resume is to get a job interview. Use your resume to highlight the skills, education and experience that will get the attention of prospective employers.

Just like a resume printed on paper, a web-based resume needs to have these components:

  • Contact information: Your name, phone number and email address. Use a home or cellphone number, wherever you can best be reached during daytime hours. Do not use the phone number of your current place of work in a job search. Your email address should look professional. You may want to create a separate account from the email address you use for family and friends. 
  • Objective: A short statement that explains the position you’re applying for. For example, use a statement such as, “Seeking a position as a Sales Representative for ABC Company.” Avoid a generic objective such as, “Seeking a position where I can use my skills and experience for the benefit of the organization.” 
  • Executive Summary: A brief paragraph highlighting your strongest qualifications for the position. Human Resources professionals and hiring managers typically look at a resume for just 6 seconds before deciding whether or not to call you for an interview. The executive summary should persuade the reader to find out more about you.
  • Work History: Your recent employment record, with dates of employment starting from the most recent. Highlight achievements and experience relevant to the position you’re applying for.
  • Education: Can include diplomas, degrees, training, post-graduate coursework and relevant certificates. 

Chronological vs. Functional Resume

The three types of resumes are chronological, functional and combination (also called hybrid). Which format you choose depends on personal preference, your qualifications, your work history and the position for which you’re applying.

A chronological resume:

  • Lists experience and education in chronological order
  • Best suits individuals with a consistent work record on one career path
  • Highlights progressively responsible positions with more than one employer in a single industry
  • Shows little or no gap in work history

A functional resume:

  • Allows you to organize your qualifications by skill sets instead of employment history
  • Best suits new graduates or others with a limited work history
  • Highlights qualifications of individuals changing career fields

A combination resume:

  • Allows you to combine elements of chronological and functional resumes
  • Best suited for those with a steady but diverse employment history
  • Focuses on skill sets relevant to the position you’re applying for instead of on previous job titles

Use Action Words

To keep resumes brief, it’s standard practice to use phrases beginning with verbs in past tense rather than complete sentences. Avoid using “I.” For example, you’d write:

  • Communicated organization goals effectively to trainees
  • Provided courteous customer service
  • Demonstrated strong interpersonal skills
  • Reduced paper usage by 10 percent
  • Maintained accurate records

Notice that action words are used in each of the examples. A phrase such as “responsible for” does not say much about how you did your job. Use your resume to tell your prospective employer how well you did your job. Did you help improve efficiency or customer satisfaction? Did you find a way to save your employer time and money? A new employer wants to know how you’ll be an asset to the organization.

Resume vs. Curriculum Vitae

A curriculum vitae, or CV, is typically used for academic and research jobs by applicants with considerable education and experience. A CV provides a great deal of detail and can be many pages long. A resume, by contrast, should be one page, two at most, and highlight only relevant experience and skills.

As with resumes, you can look online to find a simple CV in HTML with source code.

HTML Fresher Resume

A fresher resume is a resume written by a recent grad with little or no paid work experience. A fresher resume is often written in the functional format, as the applicant can more easily highlight skills and education over experience. Look online for the HTML fresher resume template.

  • If you use a word processor application, such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Works or OpenOffice, you can export your resume document to a web-ready HTML file.
  • View your HTML resume on your computer's web browser. Test it in multiple browsers, if possible. Edit and make adjustments as needed.
  • Publish your HTML resume on your web hosting account only after you are satisfied with the look and feel. When it comes to online-resume design, simple and sleek is best.

Denise Dayton is a a freelance writer who specializes in business, education and technology. She has written for, Library Journal, The Searcher, Bureau of Education and Research, and corporate clients.

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Drazen Zigic/iStock/GettyImages