Writing Your Resume in HTML Format

Joey Keathley
Spring 1997

Upon several occasions throughout your career you will need to provide your potential employer with important information about your background and your qualifications. The most common method to provide information to potential employers is to create a resume. A resume can create a vivid word picture of yourself.

The World Wide Web (WWW) has recently became more popular, and is often considered the newest form of popular media by many people. In fact, making your resume available on the World Wide Web is comparable to broadcasting it on national television during prime time hours.

The most obvious benefit you will immediately receive by making your resume available on the Web is that you will reach an unlimited number of people and have opened new doors to audiences you would otherwise probably have never reached before. Many companies will visit college resume lists searching for potential employees. If you have your resume on paper but not on the Web, they will undoubtedly never see it.

Another benefit of creating an electronic resume is cost. Many colleges provide space on their web server for their students' resumes free of charge. Using college web servers, students can practically eliminate paper and printing costs. Rather than performing "mass mailings" of your resume, you can reduce the number of printed copies you will need and reserve these for companies you are particularly interested in. Other benefits you will receive by creating an HTML resume include:

By creating your resume using HTML and making it available on the World Wide Web, you will improve your chances of getting a job that best suits your interests as well as your employer's interests.

Writing Your Resume in HTML Format



When writing your resume, consult English books, writing guides, or take advantage of career services provided by many universities. Be sure to have someone proofread and review your resume. Many instructors in the English department of a University will gladly proofread your resume, but be sure to give it to him/her enough in advance to provide enough time to review it and so that it will not be an inconvenience to him/her. Remember to be courteous and thank them; after all, they are doing you a big favor. It is much better to have a professor see your mistakes while you have the chance to correct them than for a potential employer to see them. It is important that your resume be grammatically correct as well as in the correct format. Your resume is often the first impression an employer will receive.

It will be easier to "htmlify" your resume if you have already created it. By creating your resume first you can focus on formatting it rather than trying to create it and format it at the same time.



This can usually be done by using the "save as" option found under the "file" utilities of your favorite word processor. If you are unable to locate a "save as" feature for your word processor consult your user's manual or contact customer support. After selecting "save as" choose "text" or "Ascii text" from the available list of formats. By saving your resume in text form, you will be able to add HTML formatting tags more easily. Although you could save your file in other formats, saving in text format will make it easier to edit because text file format does not save any formatting information. Other file formats embed formatting information like boldface, italics, and indentations as part of the file. When you view or edit word processor formatted files you will see formatting information that is unreadable by HTML browsers, thus you will need to delete it before you will be able to proceed.



Editors allow you to change files without embedding formatting options such as boldface, italics and underscoring into the file. Many editors are available to use. Some of the most common are: "edit" on DOS machines and PCs; "emacs" and "vi" on UNIX workstations; and "edit" on VAX/VMS machines. You can also use your favorite word processor to open a text file. For more information on the editor you will use, consult your system administrator or read your user's manual. Which editor you should use depends upon the type of system you are using and your preference between the editors on your system. Make sure you use an editor that you are familiar with. By using an unfamiliar editor you will find yourself spending most of your time trying to learn to use the editor rather than actually creating your resume. Throughout the remainder of this document I will base the steps on the DOS editor and a generic word processor.

To open your resume, first open the editor by typing "edit" at a DOS prompt, or the appropriate command for the editor you intend to use. Next, choose the "Open File" option from the "FILE" menu. Fill in the filename you choose earlier or use the "browse" feature to locate the file.



Elements of an HTML document are denoted using HTML tags. An HTML tag usually consists of a left angle bracket (<) a tag name and a right angle bracket (>). Tags are also usually paired (e.g. <P> and </P>), the first is used to identify the beginning of the element and the second (usually </tagname>) identifies the end of the element. Some tags may also contain additional information. This information should be placed inside the angle brackets. For example, to display a paragraph using full justification use <P ALIGN="justify">. HTML documents have a minimum requirement of tags. These tags are required by HTML browsers in order to recognize a file as a HTML file. The following is a summary of the required HTML tags:

   Begin Tag   End Tag   Summary 
   <html>      </html>   This element informs HTML browsers that the 
                         following code contains HTML-coded information.
                         The file extension .html also indicates an 
                         HTML document and must be used.  You may replace 
                         .html by .htm if you are restricted to three
                         digit file extensions.

   <head>      </head>   This element identifies the first section of 
                         your html.  HTML is broken into two sections,
                         the head and the body.  The head section
                         contains the title of your document, search
                         engine information, and more advanced
                         information such as Java functions.  More
                         information about Java can be found in the
                         "For Further Interests" section of this

   <title>     </title>  The title is not part of the document text. 
                         The title is usually used by the browser to 
                         label the display window.  Some search engines
                         also use the title to search on.  The title
                         should be kept short and sufficient to identify
                         the document.

   <body>      </body>   The body element contains the contents of the 
                         document.  Any information to be displayed in 
                         the document and any necessary formatting tags 
                         should be contained inside the body tags.

The required HTML tags must be placed in the appropriate order inside and HTML file. The following HTML is a simple example of the minimum HTML document.

   <title>Simple example of an HTML document</title>
   <P>Information to be displayed is located here.  This will be
   displayed as paragraph 1.</P>
   <P>This will be displayed as paragraph 2.</P>

Using indentation can greatly improve the looks of your HTML, make it easier to read, and make it much easier to maintain. Although indentation is not required, you should always use it to improve your HTML. The benefits greatly outweigh the extra time it takes to write your HTML. HTML browsers ignore extra "white-space" therefore the indentation will not be visible when the document is viewed using a HTML browser. Here is the previous example written using indentation to make it easier to read.

         Simple example of an HTML document
         Information to be displayed is located here.
         This will be displayed as paragraph 1.
         This will be displayed as paragraph 2.



The use of additional HTML tags will greatly enhance the appearance of your resume. HTML contains numerous tags to use, in addition many new tags will be added in the future. I could not possibly cover every tag here. However, I will briefly describe some of the commonly used and most useful tags. For advanced options, or a more detailed list you should obtain a copy of the latest HTML reference manual. This manual can be found on the world wide web at http://www.sandia.gov/sci_compute/html_ref.html.

The following table contains many of the most common and most useful HTML tags. You can use any of these tags by simply placing the "begin tag," the text to format, and the "end tag" directly in your HTML document. You will find it useful to view your document as you make changes. See step 9 for instructions on how to view your current HTML document. By doing this, you will become familiar with the effects of the tags.

   Begin Tag   End Tag   Summary 
   <p>         </p>      Separates two blocks of text by denoting a 
                         paragraph break.  To justify a paragraph, 
                         use ALIGN="left, right, justify, or indent" 
                         inside the tag.

   <b>         </b>      Changes text between tags to a bold font

   <strong>    </strong> Logically strengthens the text between the 

   <i>         </i>      Changes text between tags to an italic font

   <u>         </u>      Underlines text between the tags

   <ul>        </ul>     Defines an unordered list consisting of one 
                         or more <LI> elements

   <ol>        </ol>     Defines an ordered list in which each of
                         one or more <LI> elements are automatically

   <li>        </li>     Defines a list item.

   <hr>        </hr>     Produces a divider between sections of text

   <table>     </table>  Defines a series of rows and columns to 
                         format the placement of text and images
                         on the page

   <tr>        </tr>     Defines a row of a table.

   <td>        </td>     Defines a data cell.  The data cell contains
                         the actual text or image that is to be 
                         displayed in a table cell

   <center>    </center> Centers the text vertically between the 
                         left and right margins

   <img src="...">       Specifies an image file that is to be 
                         displayed.  The '...' must be replaced
                         with the path and filename of the image.
                         Additional parameters include:
                           ALIGN="alignment option for image"
                           ALT="description of image"
                           WIDTH="width of image"
                           HEIGHT="height of image"
                           BORDER="value to specify width of border
                             0 indicates no border"

   <A>         </A>     Defines text as a hypertext link.  The A
                        element must have either the HREF or NAME
                        attribute defined inside it.
                           <A HREF="http://url here/">Text to display</A>
                           <A NAME="destination tag">Text to display</A>

   <BQ>        </BQ>    Defines a separated multi-line set of text to be 
                        rendered as quoted text.

   <blink>     </blink> Causes the text between the tags to blink.
                        This tag is rarely considered professional
                        by web developers and therefore should be
                        used very sparingly



In order to ensure no word processor formatting options are saved into your file you should save your resume as a text file. However, when you choose your filename you should give it the .html or .htm extension. To do this choose "save as" from the "file" menu. Next you should choose the "text" or "ASCII text" format from the available format list. Finally, type your filename in the "filename" input box as filename.html or filename.htm where "filename" is the name you wish to call your file (e.g. resume.html).



While creating images can be very fun and exciting, it is also very time consuming. There are many tools available to help you create your custom images such as Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop, Corel Draw, and MsPaint. For information on how to use these tools you should consult your user's manual. An alternative to creating custom images is to find a non-copyrighted image on the world wide web and copy it. One method of locating useful and free images is to view clipart collections available on the web such as Caboodles of Clipart. Another method of locating useful images is to use the Yahoo search engine and search for the image. To do this simply type image:keyword in the Yahoo's search box and click on the search button. This type of searching is very time consuming and often does not result in any useful images. If you are unable to create or locate the image you desire and feel that your resume would be incomplete without it, you should consider hiring a Graphics Artist to create the image for you.

Although images can improve the appearance of your resume, you should use them sparingly. Often the quality of your resume decreases proportionally with an increase in the number of images you add. Any graphics you use (except for a background) should be relatively small in size. Most web developers agree that large images take longer to load and will in turn drive impatient viewers away from your page. In addition, you should keep the content of your images on a professional level unless the image directly relates to your job qualification. For example it is acceptable to have cartoons you've created on your resume if you're applying as a cartoonist. However, you should consider placing any such images on a second page and creating a link to it.



To insert an image into your HTML resume open your resume in your editor, then use the <IMG SRC> tag to specify the location and filename of your image. For example, to display an image called computer.gif that is 32x45 in size, use the following tag: <IMG SRC="directory/computer.gif" ALT="Computer" WIDTH=32 HEIGHT=45 BORDER=0>. All images should be in the .GIF or .JPG file format. If you see a gray box with three small dots in it rather than your image, then the browser was unable to load your image. Possible causes of this problem are: you used an incompatible file format, the image does not exist, you did not specify the correct filename or had a typographical error in the directory/filename, or the file permissions were set incorrectly (UNIX workstations require that you set the file permissions of an image to 770. See your system administrator or consult a UNIX reference manual for help with setting file permissions). Be sure to save your resume after you make any changes.



Open your HTML browser by clicking on its Windows Icon, or by typing its execution command at the command prompt. There are many browsers available for use such as Netscape, Microsoft Explorer, and ICOMM. Consult your user's manual for help with using your HTML browser. Open your resume by clicking on the "Open File" option on the "File" menu. Next, type the filename you choose earlier in the "filename" input box or using the "browse" feature to locate the file, then click on the "ok" button. Your resume should be displayed in the browser window. Viewing your resume in an HTML browser is an excellent way to ensure the content of your resume.

STEP 10:


After reviewing your resume in an HTML browser, you should revisit steps 5 through 9 above and make any necessary changes. Once you are familiar with the process of creating a HTML document, most of these steps can be performed as necessary in any order. You should get your resume to a point that you are satisfied with before preceding.

STEP 11:


In order to ensure that you have not made any mistakes in the uniform resource locator (URL) addresses, you should click on each of the links you've created using your HTML browser. Links that do not work are nicknamed "broken links." Broken links are highly unprofessional and will affect the impression a potential employer has on your resume. Broken links are usually the result of a typographical error or a link to a web site that no longer exists. Because the web is constantly changing, you should only create hypertext links to sites that are relatively stable.

STEP 12:


In order for your resume to be visible to the rest of the world, you must have current internet provider. Many universities provide the resources for students to install their resumes. Contact your University Webmaster to obtain information. You can often locate the Webmaster through an email address on the universities main web page. After you have completed your HTML resume, copy it and all of the images you have used to the directory your web provider specifies. After installing your HTML resume you should always test it. Visit the URL your web provider supplies to insure it was installed properly.

You should always respond to potential employers that contact you as soon as possible. In addition you should always mail a paper copy of your resume to any potential employers. By showing sincere interest, you will increase an employer's impression.

For Further Interest

"The Source For Java Development." Java Report. March/April 1996

Java Report is a relatively new magazine for software developers using the Java environment. Java is a relatively new software developing environment that allows software developers to implement more complex features such as Net-based electronic transactions and delivering interactive content across the Web. Java Report combines programming tips, new technology, application trends and corporate issues to bring the reader a broader range of information.

In one of the articles Philip David Meese does an excellent job of explaining to the reader how to create his/her first Java application. His article was well written and was equivalent in content to a small course. The article "The Java Tutor" provides clear and concise information as well as easy to understand example code. I strongly agree with Mr. Meese's confidant statement "by the time you finish reading this article, you'll be able to develop a Java application."

An entire section of Java Report is devoted to "Product Review." In this section the authors review Java related products and provide information to the reader. This information was the equivalent of a Consumer Reports article. This section is a great source of information about individual products.

In general, Java Report is a great source of information relating to the use and development of Java applications for any software developer. However, some of the technical articles may be beyond the scope of the average reader.

Rampe, David. "Cyberspace Resumes Fit the Modern Job Hunt." The New York Times. 3 February 1997, sec. C6.

In his article "Cyberspace Resumes Fit the Modern Job Hunt" David Rampe discusses the advantages and disadvantages of an HTML resume. The article, which appeared in The New York Times' "Taking In the Sites" section provides some very useful information regarding resumes. Some of the topics Mr. Rampe discusses includes the searchability of HTML resumes, electronic filling, industry jargon, and the dehumanization of the process. Mr. Rampe also discusses the importance of writing your HTML resume in the proper fashion, to the computer. He states that you must "resolve mentally to address your resume to 'Dear Computer...' and just ignore the dehumanization of it all." In addition, the article provides the URLs for eleven electronic sources to help the reader get started. Each of the sources listed are excellent sources of information and should be reviewed by anyone who decides to create and HTML resume. Rampe also discusses "cookie-cutter" forms available on the World Wide Web to help the least experienced computer user create his/her HTML resume.

In general, Mr. Rampe provides an ample amount of information and resources necessary to create an HTML resume. Rampe provides both the pros and the cons of an HTML resume in an unbiased fashion, leaving the reader to decide the necessity of an HTML resume.

Sandia National Laboratories. HTML Reference Manual, 2 January 1996.
  ( http://www.sandia.gov/sci_compute/html_ref.html)

Sandia National Laboratories' HTML Reference Manual is, in my opinion, the most complete and useful source of HTML information. Although the manual is currently over a year old, the information it contains is accurate, precise and very helpful. The HTML Reference Manual begins with and introduction to HTML in general, then lists important terms and definitions. Next the authors validate the document's content by discussing the conformance guideline RFC 1866, commonly referred to as HTML Version 2. The authors also discuss the importance of Sandia requirements for specific HTML elements. Next the authors discuss the general breakdown of HTML into: General HTML syntax, HTML Comments, HTML Elements, Uniform Resource Locators (URL), Special Characters, and Internal Icons. Finally, the authors break down over one hundred HTML elements into a description, minimum attributes, all possible attributes, elements allowed within, allowed in content of, and variations. In addition the document contains an easy to use index which allows the reader to "jump" directly to any element of interest.

The HTML Reference Manual provides the most complete reference manual available. In addition it is well written, well organized and very easy to use. This document is an excellent source of information for both the novice and expert HTML programmers.

Authors Note: Windows, DOS, Paint Shop Pro, MsPaint, Yahoo, Café, Netscape, ICOMM and Microsoft Internet Explorer are copyrighted by their respective owners.

Return to ENGL 208 Main Page