Write Your Résumé for an Online Audience
When transferring your résumé to the web, the last thing you want to do is simply copy and paste your hard-copy résumé into an online format. If you do, you miss out on an opportunity to demonstrate the type of person you are and how motivated you are. Also, people read a computer screen differently than a piece of paper.
Consequently, the way you write and format your online résumé should change accordingly.
When you read articles online, do you tend to pass over large blocks of text? If so, then you’re like most people who have a hard time sorting through dense paragraphs on a screen. The truth is that most people scan online content most of the time.
Following are a few formatting guidelines to help make your online résumé easier to read:
Use bulleted points and lists as often as possible. Bulleted lists are easy to scan.
Shorten your blocks of text. On the web, using single sentence paragraphs isn’t uncommon (contrary to my daughter’s seventh-grade teacher’s advice). Try not to write more than three sentences per paragraph for online writing.
Use headers. Headers are just large, bold headlines used to break content up into sections. Headers can make your text more scannable and easier for the reader to follow your train of thought. For example, you may break up a big block of text, like your objectives, into two or three sections: Who am I, What can I do for your company, and Three things that make me different.
Take advantage of hyperlinking. The Internet was invented so scientists could link one article to another. If you mention something in your résumé, offer a drill down into more detail by linking to more information about it. For example, you may link to the corporate website of the companies you worked at or schools you went to. You can also link to your LinkedIn profile or even an online portfolio.
Put the most important content up top. The fold is the bottom of what’s visible on-screen in a web browser before you scroll down. You can read content above the fold without having to scroll down. Most people tend not to scroll down, so most content below the fold isn’t read. So prioritize your writing according to this behavioral phenomenon.
Keep a little white space. Reading big blocks of text on a computer screen is difficult. White spaces can break things up and give your résumé a fresh feel.A list of specialties before (top) and after (bottom) being broken into bullets.