Plain Text Resume


At some point during your job searching period, you might have realized that one part of the application process requires a plain text resume. These are also recognized as ASCII resumes, and they’re used for submitting job applications online.

Here's an example of text resume format. If you want to compare the difference between this and the traditional format, you can see the same resume in the traditional style here. Plain text resumes are not attractive to human readers, but the simple format is easy for computers to read. Mostly, plain text resumes are used for job boards. Even though job board sites are getting more advanced and allowing you to upload resume as a Word doc, you risk it being garbled by the 'resume formatting bot' (as I like to call it), which leaves your resume looking completely different when it finally makes its way to the employer's screen.

If you haven’t got a plain text resume already, you’ll soon learn why it’s important to have one. And how you can create your own to optimize your chances of getting a new job.

In this article, we’ll cover all the fundamentals and give you a step-by-step guide to create your own plain text resume.

4 Easy Steps To Create A Plain Text Resume

What You Need To Know About Plain Text Resumes

A plain text resume is a resume written and saved in plain text file formatting – (.txt).

It contains no visual design elements, no graphics, italics, bold font, or bullet points.

Plain text resumes are used to respond to a job posting that requests for you to send your application online via email or website.

There are a few benefits of having a plain text resume such as:

  • Some jobs on websites will only want plain text resume applications
  • Plain text resumes are easy to forward and send on emails
  • Job recruiters may prefer plain text resumes
  • Good readability and scannable for the ATS (Applicant Tracking System)

Recommended read: Successful Resumes – real resumes that got people hired at top companies

Why Should You Use Plain Text Resumes?

As mentioned, one of the benefits of having a plain text resume is that it makes it easier for the Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

Instead of having to spend extra time and effort into creating one last minute, it’s worth having one prepared in your arsenal just in case employers might ask for one.

But there are 2 main reasons why you should always have a plain text resume ready:

  1. Employers could request for one
  1. Job postings online mean that the information on your file will be extracted which either: you’d have to edit it again because of formatting issues, or if you use a plain text resume format where your information can be taken easily by the software or bot, then you won’t have to edit it again

These scanners function at its best with plain text resumes because they have no formatting.

Usually, bigger companies with large operations will use an ATS to scan your resume to see if you’ve got what they’re looking for. It makes sense since it increases efficiency and saves more time. It’s also another reason why it’s important to personalize every resume you send and include the relevant keywords and phrases.

You may also be requested to send your application through the body of an email. The reason for this is to avoid catching a virus, in case they’re present.

Recommended read: Are There Enough Remote Entry-Level Jobs? Here’s What 10,800 Postings Say

4 Easy Steps To Create A Plain Text Resume

  1. Don’t Forget The Basic Information

The usual first step for every resume, don’t forget to include all the basic pieces of information that are needed:

  • Contact details
  • Career Overview
  • Education
  • Work Experience

However, rather than having to start completely fresh, you could edit an existing resume. Just ensure that it’s tailored for the job you’re applying for, and delete any graphical designs or visual elements there.

  1. Use the ‘Plain Text Resume’ Formatting

Open up your word document program, press the ‘save as’ button, and then save the document as .txt file (plain text).

This way, your document is going to convert correctly into the right format that we want. And not something else that’s not in line with what the job recruiters are asking for.

  1. Tailor Your Plain Text Resume for Job Board Postings

Remove all bullet points or design elements because they won’t properly convert. This also includes removing references to the next page (if it contains more than one) and quotation marks unless they’re straight quotation marks – (‘’).

If you’ve made a list using bullet points, just replace them with one of these characters:

  • (-)
  • (>)
  • (*)

Any headings that you might have, change them to all caps so they’re identified as headings on your plain text resume.

Plain Text Resume Definition

To check how your resume appears, widen your editing screen and ensure it still looks somewhat similar to one of your existing resumes.

  1. Tailor Your Plain Text Resume for Emails

Sometimes when you’re sending your plain text resume through email, it won’t translate into a high readability format. Here’s what you would need to do:

  1. Change the font you’re using to courier, size 12 pt
  1. Use margins from the page layout option – set at 1 inch on the left, and 1.75 inches on the right. This way you avoid incorrect formatting and ensure you’re sticking to 65 characters per line

Additional Tips

Plain Resume Template

  • Don’t use the tab button because it changes once the document converts, just use the spacebar for spaces
  • Only use the keys on your keyboard and nothing else, this keeps the formatting secure
  • Use margins to make sure you’re keeping to 65 characters per line (stick to courier font)
  • Avoid using colors, keep it simple and stick only to black and white

Plain Text Resume Sample

Use This Resume Template Below to Start Securing Your New Job Position!

Each Enhancv template is easy to convert to a TXT format, however with the Classic Single-Column, you won’t take your time into changing colours, adding too many icons or rearranging sections. It’s already simple enough to make the switch to a plain text format a breeze.


Plain Text Resume Converter

Plain text resumes are designed specifically for sending your job applications online. So having one ready can come in handy, especially when employers may ask for one at the very last minute!

As you’ve probably realized, they’re significantly different from the usual resumes you would expect. Although it’s not too difficult to create, it does require a little push and a bit of extra technical work because the formatting needs to be changed.

What other types of resumes do you want to see us cover for you? Let us know in the comments below!

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by Resume-Now Staff Writer

Related articles

Many companies no longer accept plain paper resumes that are either hand delivered or sent through the post. The reasons for this are many, but one important one is that the Internet is much more convenient than rifling through piles of documents.

Many companies are also concerned with the environment and a virtual document is considered to be greener than using paper. Finally, having a text document makes it easier to upload to recruiting sites where potential employers search out resumes that have certain keywords related to the position that they are searching for.

For whatever reason, you may be asked to submit your resume as a plain text document to the company that does not accept paper ones. You should actually have your resume saved in more than one format anyway as some companies prefer one format over others.

The three basic formats are .doc extensions which are created in Microsoft Word, .pdf which can be created in Adobe or other .pdf makers and plain text. The first types are great because you can add in all the formatting, graphics and stylized bullet points that you want. A plain text document leaves out all of the formatting and only deals with the body of the document.

1. The first thing you need to do when creating your plain text resume is to use the 'save as' function in your word processor. Save the document as a .txt file.

2. After saving the document, remove any of the graphics in it. Take out any unnecessary bullet point or numbered lists. For the most part, if they are graphical in nature, they are not going to covert to text anyway. You can use a simple point with tab to create a manual bulleted list.

3. Change the font from the one you are using to Courier and make the font size a 12 point font. This font is going to be read by all of the search engine software that is out there and is also the default font for many of the programs that require the resume to be uploaded to them.

Example of a plain text resume

4. Once you have done all of the above, use non graphical bullets and numbers to reformat the text document. Make sure you save your changes and you have just created a full .txt document that you can upload to any site that requires .txt.

If you choose to simply save your formatted document as a text document without removing and reformatting in the above manner, all the recruiter is going to see is a bunch of garbled words. The formatting is lost anyway and the document is not going to be legible unless they take the time to sort out the formatting words from the actual body of the text.

Plain Text Resume Converter

They are not going to take that time so your resume is going to be deleted and they are going to move on to the next one. You want to make a good impression when you submit a resume and you do not want a resume that cannot be read to be the impression that you make.