Digital vs. physical resumes: 3 crucial differences

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(MoneyWatch) Today's job seekers need to have resumes ready to submit physically (in person or by snail mail) and digitally (in an online application or e-mail). Of course, there are some commonalities between both. "All resumes must highlight skills, fit, education and accomplishments," says Randall Hansen, founder of Quintessential Careers. "Targeted, focused content should be tailored to each job opportunity and each employer. And, of course, no typos, misspellings, or lies/exaggerations." Beyond this, there are some important variations between the two types of CVs. For instance:

Each requires specific formatting

A physical resume should be easy to read and, except in very rare cases, kept to one page. "It has to be nicely formatted, with white space and readable type," says Hansen. An e-mailed resume, however, should never have bullets or fancy fonts, which can come through looking funky. "These resumes are designed to be read by a computer -- an applicant tracking system," says Hansen. Which means they should be simple enough for a computer to scan easily. Bonus tip: making a digital resume into a PDF will ensure formatting doesn't get wonky.

An e-mailed resume requires keywords

Because a digital resume may get "read" by a computer, you have to speak computer. "In order for a candidate's resume to get recalled as a match for a job opening, the resume must use all the keywords the employer uses in searching for candidates," says Hansen. You can find those keywords right there in the job description.

Physical resumes still require a proper piece of paper

It's easy to forget about resume paper in a digital age, but a nice stock is still worth its (heavier) weight. "Always print your resume on a solid, high-quality resume paper -- in white or cream -- in mint condition," says Brad Karsh, President of JB Training Solutions and author of "Manager 3.0: A Millennial's Guide to Rewriting the Rules of Management."

How is your e-resume different from your print version?

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Rkwriting

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    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.

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