In technical terms, ASCII is a coding scheme which assigns numeric values to letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and certain other characters. By standardizing the values used for these characters, ASCII enables computers and computer programs to exchange information regardless of platform. There are 128 standard ASCII codes, each of which can be represented by a 7 digit binary number: 0000000 through 1111111. Because ASCII is the de facto worldwide standard for these code numbers, the standard ASCII character set is universal among microcomputer hardware and software. This is good news for Internet users because now you can write or paste a text document, your ASCII resume, into an Employer's Online Response Form or the message field of an email document, and it will be easily viewed regardless of the type of computer platform you and the receiver use to transfer the information.
To create an ASCII resume, all you need to do is type your resume using your favorite word-processing application, and then save it as a text only document. Do not use Rich Text Format or RTF (.rtf), use simple ASCII Text (.txt). This should be an option under your "save" or "save as" command. You can use a simple text program, like Microsoft Notepad or Wordpad to compose and save your resume as ASCII text (.txt).
Simple rules to remember while creating an ASCII resume:
ASCII resumes are simplistic in formatting, and contain no differentiation in font or specialized layouts. This may be used by some picky hiring managers who don’t want a resume writer to unnecessarily dress up a resume, but most often it is used because it is easiest to parse by computer. A company may want to search a database of resumes for particular phrases, educational levels or other relevant data. More complex formats make this search difficult. This is why it is important to correctly submit an ASCII resume when requested– it may not look pretty, but a resume writer may never even be appreciated if the computer code cannot read the content.