Skip to main content
Co-operative Education
Special Projects Assistant

Person holding a resume
The small details within your resume and cover letter are what employers look for and what may be the difference between being employed and unemployed.

The Basics

Now that technology has been fully-integrated into our lives, becoming more aware of how to adjust is very important.  The traditional method of application is used less often because of the useful tools called "internet and e-mail".  Employers prefer applicants to send resumes via the internet because of its simplicity and organizational advantages for the company database.  The following tips are to inform you of how to maintain an outstanding resume and cover letter, even within the company's massive database.

When sending an electronic resume (e-resume) ensure that attachments are compatible with the potential employer’s computer. Provide the most relevant parts of the resume and cover letter in plain text within the body of the email, just in case the attachment is unreadable.  Just in case, provide a personalized summary because occasionally employers don't open attachments

Now a little advice on the technical aspect of sending an e-resume: each line of the e-mail, should have approximately 60 to 65 characters.  Not only should it fit across most e-mail message windows, but when it does, it will provide a professional and clear image.  Replace all of the 'tabs' with 'space bars' to ensure consistent spacing and to maintain a consistent look.  Also, avoid the use of symbols not on the keyboard as they will appear entirely differently when the employer opens your e-resume.

More than the Basics

The words used in your resume have not been individually significant, until now:  "[M]any medium and large companies use resume-scanning software. What this means is that resumes are usually scanned in and searched by keyword rather than just by objective or title" (Ream, 2000, p. 24).  This form of resume search is a significant disadvantage to applicants because the person the company needs may not be selected because the keywords they were looking for aren't in the resume.

Here's what you need to know: Typically, "the magic words are often job titles, skills or areas of expertise related to the position" (Lankford, 2005, p. 87).  Look at the job posting to find the principle terms or words used to best describe what skills the employer is seeking.  Don't worry if you can't integrate them into your cover letter and resume; instead, what you can do is have a separate section in your resume for keywords.  Then if you employer does use a search engine, it will be more likely to catch your extra keywords that are related to the positions you are applying for.

One More Piece Advice to Consider

Before attaching anything to your e-mail, ensure your name is on all the documents you send.  Double check everything you e-mail is as clear and obvious as possible.  Problems or difficulties, with your email package will cause the employer to casually shrug their shoulders and move on to the next applicant.

Last, but not least, e-mail yourself or a friend prior to sending to the employer.  It is always best to test that everything is working: your attachments, the body of the e-mail, etc.

Here is your last e-advice: seriously consider these changes when you are sending applications via Internet.  The small details within your resume and cover letter are what employers look for and what may be the difference between being employed and unemployed.  When you are applying for a possible position, keep in mind that you need to ensure that your resume and technology correspond appropriately.

Works Cited

Lankford, K., & Anderson, J. (2005). A new RESUME for a new year. Kiplinger's Personal Finance, 59(1), 87-88. Retrieved Friday, January 19, 2007 from the Academic Search Elite database.

Ream, R. (2000). Rules for Electronic Resumes. Information Today, 17(8), 24. Retrieved Friday, January 19, 2007 from the Academic Search Elite database.

Beyond the Blog

Co-operative Education
Special Projects Assistant

You Might Like These... Career Exploration, Resumes, Professional Development, Student Success

What Can You Do with a Degree in History

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘historian’? Do you instinctively imagine an elderly man? This outdated imagery was sent out the window during a panel of (young) history professionals as they shared what you could do with a degree in History.

Man looking at a resume
Unique Resumes – How Far Is Too Far?

Students are consistently hesitanant to make their resume “stand out” visually.  It’s seen as a risk – that if one too many steps away from ‘normal’ is taken, the seriousness of the document will be somehow irrevocably compromised.

a woman smiling in a meeting
What's Your Biggest Question About the World of Work?

The Canada Prospects Youth Research Team crossed the country to discover what job seekers like you need to know about employment in Canada. Read on to learn the answers to your most common questions.

You Might Like These... Portfolios

the author's portrait
You Get Out What You Put In: Portfolio, Contacts, Resume

Moving through your work term, it is valuable to consider what you will take from your co-op experience that will benefit your future career. Kimberly Blair recommends keeping three things in mind: portfolio, contacts, and resume.

close-up image of hands working on a laptop
Resume Makeovers

Does your résumé need a makeover? Do you want to have it done for free and in less than 15 minutes? If you answered "yes" to both questions, read on to find out how you can do so!

Guy holding a map that covers his face
Learn How To "Internationalize" Your Resume

Is applying for a job overseas really that different than applying for one in Canada? It can be - especially when it comes to what you include in your resume. Here are some helpful tips and tricks you will need to customize your resume for an international audience.