As a 21st-century jobseeker, it’s important to have an electronic cover letter and résumé to send at the click of a mouse. Here are some steps for converting your cover letter and résumé from Word or WordPerfect documents into electronic ones.

  1. Remove all formatting, including lines, boxes, bold, italics, and underlining. Change the font to Courier, size 12. Convert your page margins to 1 inch on the left and 3 inches on the right. When you save the cover letter or résumé, choose “Save As” and change the type to “Text only with Line Breaks.” A warning box may come up informing you that you might lose some formatting. Click “OK” or “Yes.”
  2. Launch Notepad (PC) or SimpleText (Mac) to reformat and clean up your résumé. Move all centered items to the left margin, and make sure all text is flush left. As you scroll through your document, remove all Tabs, replace all bullets with asterisks (*), and change bolded words to all caps. Increase white space by hitting Return twice between sections.
  3. Make sure your cover letter and résumé are e-friendly. Do not send them as attachments, but, rather, pasted in the body of the e-mail. Practice sending them via e-mail to yourself as well as a friend who uses a different Internet service provider—to ensure the documents are clean and professional-looking. Once you’ve made any required adjustments, your cover letter and résumé are ready for a prospective employer’s inspection.
  4. Words matter. Always include keywords in your résumé. Recruiters use keywords to search for résumés. So choose some of the basic, important keywords in your field and pepper them throughout your résumé. For example: Web designer, account manager, communications specialist, to name some.