More about HTML resumes



Resumes for the Web, and beyond

A standout presentation tool for executive resumés, IT resumés, media resumés,
and for senior people in science and technology.

The best-known use for HTML resumés is as Web pages viewed on a desktop or laptop computer. But there are other uses for them as well. They are requested by some employers (especially large firms) who use them for automated resumé processing and storage, or for viewing via a company intranet. They can also be e-mailed. (But don’t e-mail them unless you know HTML e-mail is welcome). And they may occasionally be viewed with non-typical Web browsers on handheld devices.

Many features commonly used in Web pages are incompatible with these alternative uses. That means there are two distinct ranges of use for HTML resumés, with different technical requirements. It’s an important distinction that is very often overlooked.

To meet the requirements of these two ranges of use, we offer two kinds of HTML resumés: a “Universal HTML resumé” and a “Web-page resumé.”


Our Universal HTML resumé is a go-anywhere format meant for use as a Web page as well as for maximum compatibility with non-Web uses. It’s an economical alternative for job-seekers who 1) need a good-looking resumé on the Web but don’t need all the visual sophistication of a full-featured Web-page resumé, or 2) may be posting an HTML resumé with a service that doesn’t allow the use of graphics, or 3) may need to send it to an employer who may not be able to process a full-featured Web-page resumé. And its HTML coding is adapted for the widest possible compatibility in non-Web and non-typical–Web uses of HTML documents (especially e-mailing, and also display on handheld devices). To see what our Universal HTML resumés look like, go to the Our Work page.

Our Web-page resumé is a full-dress Web page. Since it’s for Web use only, it uses a range of design features available for Web documents—especially graphics, and also CSS layout and formatting features—which give more options and design control than straight HTML. (Note: we presently offer Web-Page resumés on a custom basis only.)

Our experience in typography and graphics, at the aesthetic, functional, and technical levels, enables us to make the most of HTML resumés designed for compatibility with Web, non-Web, and non-typical–Web uses. And, of course, it enables us to do a lot more with the more extensive resources of Web-only design. We produce our Universal HTML and Web-page resumés with Dreamweaver, the leading Web-authoring software. Dreamweaver writes clean, up-to-date code, and has quality-control tools to further assure the integrity of the code. And its interface allows free and effective use of advanced Web-design features. We also test our Web-page and HTML resumés on the leading browsers on both PC and Mac platforms—so your resumé will look good wherever you send it.


Important notes on terminology—
and why our HTML resumé offerings are different

If you’re shopping around for resumé services, you should be aware that “Universal HTML resumé” is our own term, and the term “Web-page resumé” is not widely used. Most people, in fact, don’t distinguish between these two types of HTML resumé. The term used most often is “HTML resumé,” and it refers to a resumé that’s meant to be displayed as a Web page. (“Web resumé” is becoming more common in this sense also.) As far as we know, nobody else offers a product like our Universal HTML resumé that’s suitable for both standard and non-typical Web uses, and for non-Web use. (Some HTML resumés may look pretty basic, but that doesn’t mean that they’re optimized—or even suitable—for non-Web use.)

CONFUSION ALERT: Often, when you see the terms “Web resumé” or “Web-ready resumé,” they actually refer to a plain-text (or “ASCII”) resumé, especially one that’s been formatted for pasting into Web forms. Plain-text resumés are important job-hunting tools, but they have nothing to do with resumés that are viewed as Web pages, or with any form of HTML. “Plain-text” means plain text: no colors, no large and small type, no boldface or italic, etc.




Our Universal HTML resumé is actually preferable to a full-dress Web-page resumé for certain uses. That’s because it uses no graphics. Graphics (pictures, or anything with a pattern) are separate files, that need to be sent along with any Web page that uses them, and kept with that page. If you’re sending your resumé to be viewed as a Web page in a corporate intranet, or for posting on certain Web sites, the recipient probably won’t want to do that extra file management, or to use disk space for images. Images are a security issue for these recipients also—they can be infected with viruses. So in these situations, you’ll have to use a resumé designed without graphics.

Our Universal HTML resumés will also look good displayed as Web pages—as good as or better than most of the resumés you’ll find on the Web. That’s because, while Web design offers many more features than are used in our Universal HTML resumé, many of those features have no place at all in a resumé. And the ones that are valuable for resumés—mainly typographic heads, accent graphics, and background images—must be used sparingly and knowledgeably.

Universal HTML resumés are also best for non-typical Web uses, including viewing with handheld devices such as Blackberries or iPhones. These non-typical Web technologies use software that can’t always handle the formatting used for full-dress Web pages. This means that a full-dress Web-page resumé may not look the way it was meant to, may look very awkward and scrambled, and that part or all of it may not display at all. And the small screen size can also cause problems with pages designed exclusively for viewing on a full screen.

A special, very limited, markup language, WML, has been used for documents designed exclusively for handheld viewing, but handheld browsers are designed to interpret simple HTML as well, and WML doesn’t seem to have caught on as a standard. There’s no market yet for resumés designed exclusively for handheld viewing, so we code our HTML resumés to be as compatible as possible with handhelds.


Our Web-page resumé is meant solely for the typical and most important function of a Web page: to be put on an Internet server, accessed just like any other public Web site or Web page, and viewed with a browser on a desktop or laptop computer. So it can make the most of Web design resources—especially graphics, and the finer formatting controls available with CSS—that aren’t suitable for other Web uses or for non-Web HTML. But we still respect the limits of effective resumé design. Whether it’s on the Web or on paper, a resumé must communicate a great deal of detail, and the right general impression, to people who are going to spend very little time looking at it unless they see something that appeals to them—and nothing that puts them off.

So when we use graphics, they’re carefully chosen as accents, to add visual appeal to the resumé without distracting from its contents. A well-written resumé doesn’t make personal statements irrelevant to job qualifications, because such statements are more likely to prejudice someone against you than for you. Resumé graphics shouldn’t convey personal statements either—especially since (with very few exceptions) any personal statement conveyed by a graphic is irrelevant or superfluous.

One particularly effective use for graphics in a resumé is typographic headings. The Web doesn’t offer much choice in the way of typefaces. That’s because the fonts used on a Web page have to be available on the viewer’s computer, which means you’re limited to a small set of standard alternatives that virtually everyone has—the same text faces you see everywhere on the Web. A wider choice of typefaces can add a great deal to the effectiveness and appeal of a resumé—if the typefaces are carefully selected for appropriate design and legibility on screen, and properly converted for use on the Web. So for our Web-page resumés, we set certain elements of the resumé (mainly headings) in a selected typeface. They are then converted into graphics, which can be displayed on a Web page like any other picture.


It’s always handy to be able to refer employers to your resumé on the Web. But most job-seekers don’t put their resumés on the Web, and they get by just fine. Non-Web and non-typical–Web uses of HTML are still in the pioneering stage, and are not presently important job-search tools for most people. Your initial contacts with prospective employers will usually involve an e-mailed Word or plain-text resumé.

It’s after the first contact is made that a resumé on the Web becomes uniquely valuable for some job-seekers, especially senior people. It makes your resumé available to decision makers 24/7, with the click of a mouse. They’ll appreciate the convenience, and you’ll stand out as someone who can make the most of current technology. A resumé on the Web is a distinctive presentation tool for executive resumés, IT resumes, media resumés, and for senior people in science and technology—highly-specialized fields, where candidates are scrutinized by a number of people over a long period of time. You’ll stand out if those people can access your resumé any time. Freelancers and consultants find the Web an excellent way to make their resumés conveniently available to clients and prospects. An HTML resumé is also a professional-looking plus for people in the media and glamour industries.

There’s no handier way to make your resumé available than as a clickable link to a bookmarkable Web page. Put that link in your e-mail signature, too. Whenever you e-mail a job prospect, they’ll have a link to your resumé right there, and if they forward your e-mail to others in their firm, the link will go with it.

If this sounds like your job market, you should consider getting a Universal HTML resumé or a Web-page resumé.

Putting your resume on the Web

In order for others to be able view your resumé on the Web, you’ll have to find a host for it, who will put it on a Web server—a computer set up to be accessed over the Web. Here are a few tips:

If you’ve already got a Web site, don’t connect your resumé and your personal Web site: don’t have prospective employers access your resumé via your personal web site, and don’t link to your personal web site from your Web resumé. Remember what we said about personal statements—it goes double for a personal Web site. Instead, you might arrange for another site, just for your resumé.

If you don’t have a Web site, the first place to look for hosting might be your ISP (Internet Service Provider—the company that provides your Internet connection).

You’ll get the best results from ISPs that charge for their services. Watch out for free hosting services. If they don’t make their money from you, they probably make it from advertising. You don’t want a host who will turn your resumé into a vehicle for their advertising, or make your prospective employer take a tour of the host’s Web site before they get to your resumé. Your prospective employer won’t appreciate that, and won’t be impressed by a resumé surrounded by someone else’s material. You also don’t want a host or posting service that’s going to invite your prospective employer to look at other people’s resumés. (Another benefit of a paid ISP service is a more professional-looking e-mail address, and e-mail that doesn’t carry ads.)

A good resumé host will give you a unique URL (Web address) that lets employers go directly to your Web resumé. And when someone accesses your Web resumé, they shouldn’t see anything but your resumé. You’ll probably have to pay more than small change for that, but the charges should still be reasonable (typically under $20/month), and if you’re one of those who need a resumé on the Web, it should be well worth it for such a valuable tool. You’ll probably find other professional uses for the site as well. You’ll get better value for your money if you do the site management yourself, if that’s an option. Some hosts make that quite convenient for people with basic computer file management skills.

It’s important to be aware that putting up a Web resumé does not mean that employers will start finding you. Employers, as a rule, do not use Web searches to find candidates. Even if they did, putting a resumé, or any other Web page, on the Web doesn’t mean it will turn up in search-engine searches, or, if it does, that it will turn up anytime soon. To find a job, you’ll have to get busy and get employers to look at your resumé. The Web hasn’t changed that.

HOSTING/POSTING: There can be a big difference between putting your resumé on the Web and posting it on a job site. Posting a resumé on a job site sometimes just means pasting your plain-text resumé into a form. The information is then added to the site’s database. Employers will find it only when searching for resumés of people with certain qualifications—which means they’ll be looking at other people’s resumés as well as your own. You’ll often have no control over how your resumé looks. The forms used for on-line resumé builders are often too simplistic for a good real-world resumé. And the posting may not allow you to use a URL (Web address) that lets people access your resumé directly. Keep in mind also that only a tiny fraction of jobs are filled through job sites.

Universal HTML resumes beyond the standard Web


HTML has some uses other than standard display on the Web. Most of the technical features used in full-dress Web design can cause problems or uncertainties for these non-standard uses. We don’t claim to have come near to mastering all the technicalities of non-typical HTML compatibility. That would take a large, permanent team of cutting-edge technical experts, since there are currently no standards at all in the area of non-Web and non-typical–Web HTML applications. (There’s WML, of course, but a resumé formatted in WML would have little use anywhere but on handheld devices.) Every application has different requirements and limitations—sometimes widely different. And new non-standard applications are cropping up all the time. But the important thing for resumé purposes is staying on the safe side, and we’ve come up with a format that avoids features that will or might present compatibility problems in non-Web and non-typical–Web applications. We also use techniques that allow us to keep certain formatting options without using features that aren’t safe.

Non-web HTML, and non-typical–Web uses of HTML, are not currently major job-hunting tools. But they could be important in certain fields, and will probably grow in importance, especially in business communications. One reason for this expected growth is the increasing use of handheld devices such as iPhones or Blackberries. These have been predicted to replace notebook computers in the hands of half of all traveling workers by 2012. Another factor is the use of HTML resumés in automated resumé-management systems used by large companies.

For now, however, the uses are limited. HTML e-mail, in particular, is something to be careful about. (We’re talking about in-line HTML, that displays in the message itself. HTML documents sent as attachments don’t have the problems discussed here.) There are some real problems with a lot of HTML e-mail: security issues, slow loading, and messages that don’t display properly at the recipient’s end because the code is incompatible with their software. Graphics in e-mail messages are particularly obnoxious. (In addition to slowing things down, they can be infected with viruses.) For these reasons, some people really hate getting HTML e-mails. And some organizations actually filter out HTML e-mails. Our Universal HTML resumé is designed to avoid the typical problems with HTML e-mails. But that doesn’t change the fact that HTML e-mail isn’t always welcome. Don’t e-mail in-line HTML to someone unless they say specifically that it’s acceptable.

But if your potential employers welcome HTML, you may well want a Universal HTML resumé to send to them.


If someone does invite e-mailed HTML, you may want to ask if it should be sent in the body of the e-mail (“in-line”), or as an attachment. Sent in-line, the formatted resumé will be viewed in the e-mail message window. Sent as an attachment, the resumé will show as an attached file icon; like all attached files, it must be saved by the recipient, and then viewed in another application (in this case, a Web browser.) Attached HTML files might, in addition, be displayed in the message window, with all formatting. This behavior depends on the settings of the recipient’s e-mail software. (The way it displays in your e-mail window when you’re composing the message depends on the settings in your e-mail software—but that doesn’t mean it will display the same way at the recipient’s end.)

If someone asks to have an HTML resumé sent as an attachment, they may intend to use the HTML format for automated resumé-processing. Or they may just prefer to view it with a Web browser, rather than an e-mail program, because it saves them a lot of compatibility problems, at the cost of a little file management at their end.

If you’re sending HTML in-line (in the body of the e-mail), be sure you’ve chosen “HTML” as the format for that e-mail (as opposed to “plain text” or “rich text”). Not all e-mail applications offer HTML as a formatting option—make sure that yours does. If you send in-line HTML without choosing HTML as the message format, the recipient won’t see your nicely-formatted resumé—they’ll see the raw code, which doesn’t look like a resumé at all. It looks like computer garbage mixed in with bits of resumé text. And that will probably be the end of that job prospect.

For Mac users, if your e-mail application is Apple Mail, which (at least as of OS 10.4.10) doesn’t support sending HTML in the body of the e-mail, there’s a way around this. You’ll doubtless have a copy of Safari. Open your HTML resumé in Safari, then choose File > Mail Contents Of This Page. Another tip for Mac users: When you e-mail attachments in Apple Mail, you’ll want to go to Edit > Attachments, and make sure the “Always Send Windows Friendly Attachments” option is checked. (Leave this option checked all the time: it doesn’t interfere with e-mails to Macs.)



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