Tips for formatting Plain Text (ASCII) CVs

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Plain text format CVs do not contain bullets, italics, bold, underlining, fancy fonts or columns etc., and therefore your beautifully laid out CV could end up looking a mess when sent to the recruiter.

To avoid a scrambled CV, you can either write it from scratch in a plain text editor such as Note Pad or cut and paste a document into it. Once you save the document make sure it has a .txt extension on the end.

The following tips will help you arrange your plain text CV.

  1. Always put your, Name, email address and date on your CV at the top
  2. Use 10-14 point common sans serif fonts, such as Helvetica, Verdana or Arial.
  3. Do not use bullets, bold, underscoring, or italics.
  4. Instead of tabs use repeated spaces.
  5. Use asterisks (*), hyphens (-) or plus (+) signs and make sure they are separated from words by a space
  6. Avoid slashes (/).
  7. Justify everything to the left.
  8. Use capitals where you would normally use bold on a traditional CV e.g headings, job titles, etc.
  9. Use double spacing for easier reading and dashes to separate sections instead of lines.
  10. If your CV is on two pages, put your name at the top of the second page on a separate line.
  11. Each line of your address should occupy a separate line.
  12. Category headings ("EXPERIENCE".) should occupy their own line.
  13. Don't put parentheses ()
  14. Avoid complex layouts, tables or columns.
  15. Keep the line length short. Use hard carriage returns (enter key) every 60 characters max.

Once completed, test it to make sure that it looks ‘right’, by sending it to yourself and friends in an email. Never send it as an attachment,

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