Writing A Resume? Think PDF

By Suzanne Gamboa

Did you miss NAHJ-DC’s May 21 resume workshop?

If you had been there you already would be following the advice in the headline of this posting.

Thanks to the free presentations organized by the NAHJ-DC chapter, Jill Olmsted, American University’s
Journalism Division Director
and Felicia Parks, AU Career Center director of American University, advised professional and student journalists to always provide their resume in PDF format.

Why think PDF when writing a resume?

Everyone can read a PDF. Your resume will appear as you designed it. Sometimes a resume design will change because the reader has different programs in the margin. Or, a potential employer may not be able to open a Word format at all. If you make it available as a Google Document, the employer may not be looking at the most up-to-date version, Olmsted and Parks said.

Even when your resume is online in a great looking web site you’ve built yourself, you should have a link or button that automatically turns your resume into a PDF. You never know when that potential employer wants to print out a version to read while on the way to a news meeting or while taking a quick coffee break. Make it easy for potential employers, so they don’t end up with a page full of all the other stuff on your web site, distracting from all the great things you’ve put on your resume to show you are the candidate to hire.

That was just a sampling of the sage advice handed out at the workshop. Because of the small group at the May 21 workshop, some attendees got personal reviews of their resumes and clips, as well as advice on how to polish them. NAHJ-DC provided the workshop free, but asked for $10 donation from those who wanted to see the chapter do more such training. Considering some of the one-on-one training that was provided, it was a bargain! Olmsted and Parks did not charge for the free time they gave to NAHJ-DC on a Saturday.

Other advice given:

_ If you don’t have an online resume you are dead (in the job market), according to Olmsted.
_ Check out the writing a resume or cover letter tutorials at MediaBistro.com
_ Be sure to put keywords particular to the job you are applying for on your resume because some resumes are first read by computers and search for keywords from the job descriptions.

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