Home Blog What is a Plain Text Resume?

What is a Plain Text Resume?


During your job searching period, you might come across a point where you realize the need for a plain text resume. In today’s job environment, the critical takeaway is the need for a great resume and a plain-text resume to prepare yourself to land a new job.

This article shall cover the key fundamentals and a detailed guide to create your own plain text resume. Let’s start!

An Introduction To “Plain Text Resume”

A plain text resume also known as ASCII is a resume that is written and saved in plain text file formatting having an extension(.txt). This type of resume has no visual design elements, no bullet points, graphics, font style, or bold fonts. They are typically used to give a quick response to a job posting that asks you to submit your application online via email or websites.

Related: Best Resume Writing Service for Students & Professionals

Why One Must Have A Plain-Text Resume?

Some computer software programs like ATS are used by large companies and businesses to select resumes. These ATS (Application tracking system) saves employers time by automating the tracking, valuation, and selection of job applicants. Many large companies usually run resumes through scanners to sort them, especially when resumes received are a lot in number. These scanners work best without formatting and that is where the need for a plain-text resume rises. Moreover, there are two more major reasons for having a plain text resume ready:

  • Some employers or hiring managers can request one
  • Online job postings usually require resumes without formatting

TTC Resume Writing

Simple Steps To Create A Plain-Text Resume

Resume formatting is the core step before entering the job application process. You may be asked to submit a plain text resume at any point in your job search. So, to avoid any difficulty it’s better to know before time, what an employer is looking for when asking for such a resume.

Open up a Simple Text Editor

The first step is to start working on a simple text editor and start writing the content freely. Don’t be stressed about the formatting first, just write your valuable content by dividing the page into correct resume parts.

Plain Text Resume 1

Add the Basic Information

This is the first important step for any resume. Be precise and add your necessary basic information such as:

“Do not” add any graphic or visual elements.

Use the Right Format

Remove all the bullets or visual elements as they won’t convert properly. Also, remove any type of references to the next page (if they are more than one) and remove all types of quotation marks unless they are straight marks i.e.- (‘’).

If you have any bullets, then replace them with any of the below-mentioned characters:

  • (-)
  • (>)
  • (*)

After this, check for headings on your resume, if there are any then change them to all caps so they look like headings on your plain-text resume.

Related: What is the Purpose of a Resume?

Once you are done with formatting then you need to save it with a different extension. For this, open up your word file and press the “save as” button and save your document as a .txt file. In this way, your document shall be converted into the right format.

Fit your Plain Text Resume for Job Board Postings

Lastly, you need to tailor your resume for job postings. For this, you need to have a look at how your resume appears. For this, widen your editing screen and make sure it looks somewhat similar to your existing resumes.

Some More Additional Tips

  • Never use the tab button because it changes the formatting of the document once the document is converted, instead use the “spacebar” for spacing.
  • To keep the formatting secure, only use the keys on the keyboard and nothing else.
  • Stick to the font “Courier”
  • Use margins to make sure you keep 65 characters per line.
  • Keep it simple only black and white, and avoid any use of colors.

Basic Takeaways on Plain-Text Resume

  • Having a plain text resume is a good idea as it creates a “uniform look” and helps with applicant tracking systems.
  • A plain-text resume is often known as ASCII. It stands for “American Standard Code for Information Interchange”
  • Such type of resume uses only basic elements. It means you must not include any fancy graphics, designs, icons, or characters.

Plain Text Resume 2

Final Thoughts

A plain-text resume also has its significance in the job market as up to 75% of submitted resumes never actually go into the hands of recruiters. Many of these resumes go through tracking systems or scanners, so when they are not formatted correctly, are simply rejected. So, if you want to stay competitive in the job market today, then you need to have a plain text resume.