Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More Resume Fun: Downloading in Various Formats

Lately I've been blogging a lot about resources to help convert a paper resume to an electronic one. While doing this, I've ignored the elephant in the room-- the cutting and pasting of a text resume into an online application. To be honest, I've been a little intimidated by this topic. I was nervous to teach it to a new learner while they are just trying to learn how to downloading a pdf file. This all changed recently during a one-on-one appointment.

I was working with a woman who walked in with a paper resume, and wanted to leave with the ability to download and manipulate a new electronic one. We chose to use Google Docs because she felt like she could type her information in quickly and it would look the most like her paper resume. Since we only had an hour together, I explained to her that we had two choices--we could spend most of the time typing in her resume, or we could type in just a small portion to get her started, then spend the rest of the session learning how to download, upload, and attach it. She felt that it would be beneficial to spend more time on learning how to manipulate the resume, so that's what we did. We practiced downloading the document as a pdf and saving it to the desktop. We practiced attaching it to an email, and we also used my husband's helpful creation: Resume Practice to allow her to practice uploading her resume to an application.

Then the stumper: I wanted to beging to talk about the importance of having a basic, clean, barely formatted electronic resume for the purpose of copying and pasting into an application. I had worked with this patron before, and I thought that she would be able to follow this lesson. I decided to use the empty body of an email to demonstrate basic formatting of a resume. We used her Google Doc resume to download a text document, and then copied and pasted it into the empty body of the email. She was able to make the connection about why one needed a text resume PLUS a regular, nicely formatted one.

I was feeling rather smug after this appointment, and thought, WOW, I was really making a difference for people. I felt good about things, and continued to refine my quick tips sheets for my patrons.

This self-satisfaction didn't last long. Two days later, I was humbled again. While I had been on vacation, my patron had come back to apply for a position that was available on CareerBuilder. She had followed all the steps to upload her resume, and still, she was not able to do it. She had asked other librarians, and none were able to figure out the problem. Oddly enough, as soon as I sat down with her, I realized the issue. CareerBuilder will only accept uploaded resumes in either Word or text files--not as a pdf. Argh. Knowing that, we went back to her Google Doc resume and redownloaded it in the new format. It worked, but I learned my lesson that I need to remind everyone (including myself) to always read the fine print.

That was my lesson for the day. I'm sure many more are coming my way.

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