Resumes & Cover Letters

A Guide to E-Resumes: Types and Formatting

June 21, 2021

In today's digital world, understanding how to seek employment through online platforms may help increase your chances of being noticed by hiring managers. E-resumes are a commonly used method for applying for positions through online postings and electronic submission platforms. It's important to format your e-resume to be compatible with these digital channels so that employers may easily access your application materials. In this article, we define e-resumes, discuss their importance, offer a list of different types of e-resumes and provide tips to help you format a successful e-resume.

Related: Resume Basics: Types of Resumes, Examples and Tips

What is an e-resume?

An e-resume is a broadly used term that covers several types of resumes meant for various types of online submissions. Today, many employers use online platforms and automated software to collect, scan and categorize resumes when seeking qualified candidates. It may be helpful to write an e-resume version of your existing resume to increase your exposure and ensure these software systems recognize your qualifications. E-resumes tend to be plainly formatted with no special characters, images, design elements or variations in text.

Related: How To Edit Your Resume: 8 Steps To Make Your Resume Perfect

Why is an e-resume important?

Creating an e-resume is an important part of successfully seeking employment because it may help to:

Match with applicant tracking systems

As technology continues to become an integral part of recruiting efforts, many employers may use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes for keywords and desired qualifications. Formatting your resume so that these systems can easily recognize your document and alert hiring managers to a potential match is an important step in securing employment.

Related: What Are Applicant Tracking Systems? (With Definition and Tips)

Ensure consistency of formatting

Creating your e-resume and saving it as the appropriate file type may help to ensure consistency of formatting. When submitting your e-resume to employers via online submission portals or emails, be sure to carefully read their directions for file type compatibility. Using the correct file type can help to ensure potential employers receive your resume in its original, organized and visually appealing format.

Demonstrate your computer skills

As technology continues to become a prominent part of many professional industries, employers may increasingly seek candidates with advanced computer skills. Creating an effective e-resume may demonstrate your computer literacy and could help to impress hiring managers with your technical abilities.

Types of e-resumes

Below are a few types of commonly used e-resumes:

Print resume

A print resume is a traditional resume that you may scan or print and send to an employer. However, you can make an e-resume version of the physical copy of your print resume for online applications. Print resumes often allow for some personalization through font choice, formatting and color scheme. They may be beneficial when applying for positions through digital channels such as email. E-versions of your print resume are most often effective when a hiring manager directly reads the resumes of each candidate, rather than scanning them through a computer program for analysis.

If you're sending an attachment of a print resume to an employer via email, be sure to follow their directions and save your document in the appropriate file type, such as .doc and .docx.

Text resume

A text resume or plain-text resume may be a great option for submitting your resume to employers who use applicant tracking systems (ATS) and keyword-searchable databases to select candidates. You may format a text resume simply, with no special characters, symbols, variations in font or headers. Text resumes consist simply of the content of your resume separated by single spaces and punctuation. Text resumes may be beneficial because of their compatibility with several types of operating systems and resume scanning software. You may also use a text resume when:

  • You're posting your resume on many job boards
  • You're pasting pieces of your resume onto online profiles or job boards
  • You're pasting your resume into the body of an email instead of sending as an attachment
  • You're converting from a print resume to a web-based HTML resume

Web resume

Web-based resumes are resumes you may publish to an online platform for employers to access at any time. You may use a web-based resume for your professional online profile, website or portfolio. Web resumes often carry the file extension .html or .htm to enable them to be published on websites. Having a web-based resume may be beneficial if you:

  • Already have a professional online presence
  • Want employers to have convenient access to your online resume
  • Want to include links to your portfolio in your resume
  • Are pursuing a career in web design and want to demonstrate your technical skills

Related: Strategies To Beat the Applicant Tracking System and Land the Interview

4 tips for formatting an e-resume

Consider these four tips to format an effective e-resume:

1. Integrate keywords

It's important to integrate relevant keywords into your e-resume so that ATS software can easily identify your document amidst the competition. In order to incorporate the most effective keywords into your e-resume, consider carefully reading the original job posting or researching the company's website to find commonly used words and phrases. It's important to remember that this kind of scanning software doesn't identify nuances, so try to use the exact words or phrases to ensure the software successfully identifies your resume.

2. Remove formatting

When creating a web or text resume, be sure to remove any complex formatting from your original document to optimize your resume for ATS and keyword-searchable databases. This could include:

  • Bullet points
  • Lines
  • Headers
  • Color schemes
  • Bold or italicized font
  • Special characters
  • Symbols
  • Hyperlinks
  • Images

3. Use a simple font

Using a simple font may contribute to the likelihood of your resume being noticed by ATS Consider common and easily read fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial and Courier to optimize your e-resume for resume scanning software. Be sure to use a font size larger than ten but less than fifteen to enhance your e-resume's readability.

4. Capitalize instead of bold

In order to differentiate the separate sections of your e-resume, consider replacing bold text with capitalized text. Capitalized text may be less likely to confuse applicant tracking systems and could help to increase the probability of hiring manager's receiving your resume after being sorted through ATS.


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