I want to convert my CV to plain text and I'm looking for ways to structure the content effectively without relying on visual formatting (use of blank lines, markdown-like use of dashes and asterisks, and the like).

Is there any general rule and/or convention to be followed here?

Also, if you came across some CV/resume in plain text that struck you as particularly effective and well-structured, I'd appreciate if you could link to it in your answer.

  • 1
    This really isn't a valid question for a Q&A site. Have a look at the Help Center to see what kind of questions we expect here. – Lilienthal Feb 4 '16 at 10:45
  • I've edited the question to make it more general, hope it's acceptable now. – zool Feb 4 '16 at 10:59
  • If you have a formatted CV already, one possibility is to simply retype it in a plain-text editor, making appropriate adjustments for readability in that medium. Leave blank lines as appropriate to convey section breaks. In plain text, "ALL CAPS" is often used for section headings, etc. – Brandin Feb 4 '16 at 11:01

I would suggest you don't. Bear with me for a minute.

Likely you have your CV in something like Word, what you want to do is:

  • Open the CV in Word
  • Export it from there into text
  • Look at what happens to the formatting

Now, tweak and tidy the formatting in Word to get you a clean export that looks good.

The reason? Well there are 3:

  • Many recruitment systems will rip out the info like this, both to parse and to present to hiring managers, you want to ensure that's right to pass auto screening
  • You don't want the text version too different from the Word one, if the ATS gives a hiring manager both and they don't look to match, you may get dumped as the hiring manager doesn't have time to cross check.
  • You don't want to have to update 2 docs when you put in new data/customise for an application etc.

So have one source to work on, just ensure it's clean when you export.

I used to have a CV I would use based on the one a consultancy company did when I worked for them, it looked nice but had tables within tables within tables, and most ATS parsers would reject without a human eye ever scanning my perfect match skills.

I extracted the text, cleaned up, pasted into a new Doc and applied some simple but clean formatting. Hey presto ATS systems passed.

  • while exporting the CV , which format is the best? Can it be sent in a .pdf file so It cannot be edited and give a natural look? – Fennekin Feb 4 '16 at 12:34
  • Fennekin - I think you've misunderstood the question, it's about getting a plain text version of the CV, not preserving the formatting, so text is what you want, pdf can be a minefield to parse. – The Wandering Dev Manager Feb 4 '16 at 12:56

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