To create an ASCII version of your résumé, do the following:
Congratulations. You've just created an ASCII résumé.
For best results, make sure include plenty of keywords, which describe your skills, job titles, education and experience.
Employers search résumé databases using keywords to find candidates. If your ASCII résumé has the right keywords, it can jump to the top of the pile. If not, it won't.
Ready? Open your ASCII résumé using Notepad or a similar text editor -- do NOT use your word processing program, which could mess up the plain text format.
Now, add a section of keywords. Think like an employer. What search terms would they use to find someone like you?
Example: if you're a sales manager, your keyword section might look like this:
sales manager, sales management, sales trainer, team building, consultative sales, consultative selling, Director of Sales, BA: Marketing, Bachelor of Arts in marketing, sales/marketing, sales and marketing
... the list could go on. Put your keyword section near the top of the résumé, which may cause some databases to give those keywords more relevance (the jury is still out on this, though).
There's no limit to the number of keywords you can use, so long as they accurately describe you and your skills.
Best of luck to you!
Kevin Donlin owns Minnesota based Guaranteed Résumé and writes a biweekly column providing job search and résumé writing advice. Reach him at the Guaranteed Résumé Web site: http://www.gresumes.com.