You can boost your job search networking and success through use of a web resume (one formatted in HTML and posted on the Internet).

This article outlines tips to help you develop a successful web resume, and it includes a useful web resume model. This article also assumes that you already know how to create a web page and publish it online. The terms that have been used to discuss and describe resume types have not been universally consistent. The most widely-accepted definitions are included below to help distinguish the web resume from other resume formats.

Types of Resumes

  • Scannable Paper: A specially formatted hard copy resume used by employers to scan into a computer database. The database can then be searched for keywords to help identify applicants with qualifications for job openings.

  • Electronic: An ASCII text-only resume created with a text editor such as Notepad.  This is a resume stripped of formatting to ensure the file will transmit correctly from any e-mail, Internet, or electronic interface to an employer's resume-tracking software.

  • Web: A resume in HTML format published to a web server for viewing over the Internet with a web browser program.  This format adds flexibility in that it supports incorporation of more sophisticated elements such as animated graphics as well as sound and video clips.

The use of web resumes is most common in the high-tech industry and is effective as a link from a personal or business web site. However, you should research to determine if a web resume is necessary in your career field. Also note that a web resume should be used in addition to your standard paper and electronic resumes.

Purpose and Benefits of Web Resumes

The benefits of developing and posting a well-designed web resume are numerous: 

  • A well-developed web resume is a good tool for displaying your expertise in computer technology (HTML, web site and graphic design, and more).
     

  • Web resumes can also be creative sales tools for people who want or need to display their artistic abilities (photographers, artists, singers, models, architects, graphics and computer specialists, etc.)
     

  • Listing the URL to your web resume is also effective in a networking e-mail.
     

  • E-mailing your web resume in the body of a networking e-mail is also effective. (To do this, open your browser; access your web resume online; in Internet Explorer, click on File, Send, Send Page by e-mail. Fill in the recipient’s e-mail address and the subject line, then click Send.) NOTE: Check to make sure recipients can read HTML in their e-mail programs before sending.
     

  • Listing the URL for your web resume in your paper and electronic resumes can also expand your job search marketing effectiveness.
     

  • A web resume can also be used as a useful meeting or interview follow up tool. Reserving your web resume for this purpose may provide an important opportunity to initiate further communication with your contacts.
     

  • Having business cards available containing your web site URL may be more appropriate or convenient to give to contacts or potential employers in some networking situations than offering your printed resume.
     

  • Some employers search the Internet for candidates with specific job skills. A web resume can expand your network in this way too.

Successful Web Resume Content and Tips

Always begin by preparing a first-rate paper resume (see Chapter 9, “Prepare a Winning Resume,” of Your Career: How to Make It Happen). Use your paper resume as the content foundation of your web resume.

Your web resume will in many ways mimic the content of your completed hard copy.  It should also include many enhancements and formatting adjustments including the following:

  • Include An Appropriate Page Title: Search engines sort by page title, URL, and meta tags (discussed in next bullet).  Use a page title that reflects your job objective–in our web resume model, we have used the page title "Web Specialist."

    See an example of the page title used in our model web resume.  Click on the following web resume link, then place your cursor in a blank portion of the screen, right mouse click, select "View Source," and review the page title used in this resume.  See web resume model  

  • Use Meta Tags:  Meta tags are keywords that describe your relevant skills, education, and other job qualifications.  These are placed within the HTML code to be used as a reference for search engines and other web services to locate web documents by topic.  Meta tags are not viewable in your web browser–only in the HTML coding of the document.  Adding keywords at the beginning of your web resume that describe your skills and qualifications increases your chances of being located by search engines and by employers who surf to find qualified candidates.

    See an example of meta tags used in our model web resume. Click on the following web resume link, then place your cursor in a blank portion of the screen, right mouse click, select “View Source,” and review the meta tags used in this resume.  See web resume model  

  • Use Hyperlinks: Hyperlinks make web resumes user friendly as they speed navigation. At the beginning of your web resume, consider using hyperlinks to the main sections of the resume (qualification summary, education, work experience, etc.)

    • Link to portfolio. Also consider including hyperlinks to a portfolio of your relevant work such as web sites you have developed and examples of programming, architectural, artistic, or other relevant projects.

    • Link to your other resume formats. Include links in several downloadable formats (Word, pdf, ASCII) to your scannable paper resume and to your electronic resume.

    • Link to your e-mail address. Make it easy for employers to reach you!

    See examples of hyperlinks in our web resume model  

  • Include a Qualifications Summary: Help readers by presenting a summary of your primary qualifications near the top of your web resume, so they can get an overview immediately. Include your keywords in order of importance and relevance to your job objective.

    See an example of a qualification summary in our web resume model  

  • Use Graphics:  While using too many or inappropriate graphics can clutter a web page and distract the reader, relevant images, borders, and bullets will keep the employer interested.  Note:  Do not include a photograph of yourself.  In effort to avoid discrimination, many employers will not consider a resume with a picture attached.  

  • Use Color:  Choose a color or scheme and use it consistently to highlight and accent titles and key points.  To achieve maximum readability, use background colors and text font colors that are contrasting (light background with dark text font or darker background with light text font).  

  • Use Standard Fonts:  Arial and Times New Roman are commonly available on computers.  Using these fonts helps ensure that your resume prints and displays correctly for employers.  Use an 11- to 14-point font size in the body of the resume to ensure clear readability.  Use a color and bold font for  your headings.  

  • Consider Using Tables, Outlining, and Bullets:  Tables, outlining, and bullets help in organizing information for maximum readability.

REMINDERS FOR WINNING WEB RESUMES

  • Emphasize measurable and other accomplishments under work experience.

  • Place qualifications/skills near the top--loaded with keywords.

  • Repeat keywords in the body under the education and experience sections to prove actual use of skills/qualifications claimed.

  • Include links to your word processed resume (.doc) and your electronic resume (ASCII).

Publishing, Verification, and Distribution

Upload all files and verify the appearance of your web resume in several different web browsers.  Confirm that all images and links load properly.

Let employers know you are online.  Distribute your web resume URL on your business cards, your hard-copy resume, in your electronic ASCII resume, and in your e-mail communications with potential employers and networking contacts.

See our sample web resume.