When submitting a resume to a website there are a few general practices I highly recommend. We’ll look at a two factors here. One being a company specific website, where you submit your employment resume to a specific company using their own website. And two, that of job search websites, such as Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, and Indeed.com.
First and foremost, no matter what type of website you submit your resume to, removing most if not all special formatting is highly advisable. Bullets, special characters, italics, bolding, and so forth. Now granted, there are many websites that allow you to upload your document directly and when you review it, it does appear to keep the look and feel of your resume. However, some company website databases are not as modern, so I always recommend having a text only, with little to no formatting, and all your resume information left justified, just in case you need to copy and paste, your resume in a submission box.
A few items you want to look out for, Quotes and Apostrophes:
In Microsoft Word, quotes and apostrophes are often viewed as special characters and some older text editors see these not as characters but as a graphic. If you upload your resume and notice where an apostrophe should be, instead there’s a square blank box or some strange looking character, it’s because it does not know how to translate this special character into an apostrophe.
The solution is to save your document as a text only document which will than convert these characters into pure ASCII text. Hence why I recommend having a text only resume just in case.
Next let’s talk about timing out of a website when trying to input your information:
Some employment websites ask you to submit a profile as part of the application process. While you’re input your information for the first time, it might take longer then you expect, looking for dates, or information they are requesting. No often, but some websites will time out, that is after 30 minutes or an hour, you might hit the next button, after spending a lot of time wording the perfect paragraph to their question… only to find out, the next screen you’re met with is, an error, or time out screen. And the most frustrating part is, all your data you just entered might have been lost. Trust me, this has happened to me personally on more than one occasion and you don’t want to start over!
Here’s my tip. If a website requires you to setup a profile with all your career information, first put in your basic contact information only. Create a password and sign out. Then log back into your account. This first step forces their database to create your profile and verifies you’re a person and not internet spam on their system. Then go into your newly created profile and add your employment history and other career information. Throughout this process, if the website does not have a save feature, input only a piece of your information, log out again and log back in. Many older databases automatically save information when you log out. This might seem like over doing it but a quick log out and logging back into your account is much faster than putting all your information in twice.