Three .PDF tricks to help with job applications

This inaugural Gadget Blog post offers a couple tips and tricks on how to use your smartphone and basic Windows/Mac OSX software to help put together job application packages.

Scanning Documents Without a Scanner

Need to scan your transcripts and convert them to a .PDF file for an application package? The free CamScanner app for both iOS and Android phones does a surprisingly good job at scanning paper documents. The app takes a picture of the document, let you crop the photo, and then it will enhance the picture to look like a true photocopy. Make sure to review picture quality. Steady hands and a well-lit room go a long way!

Electronic Signatures

Here’s how to get your real signature electronically placed on cover letters:

Windows / Adobe Reader:

First you’ll need a picture of your signature saved to file on your computer. To do this you can sign a sheet of paper, take a picture with your phone, and email it to yourself. Alternatively, use a webcam. Don’t worry if the paper doesn’t turn out perfectly white in the picture – Adobe will enhance it. Once saved to disk, open the picture in Paint and crop out excess white space.

Next, open the document you want to sign in Adobe Reader, click ‘Sign’ in the top right corner, click ‘Place Signature’ and then ‘Change Signature’. In the new window that has just popped up, go to the drop-down menu at the top and select ‘use an image’, and then find the picture of your signature that you saved earlier. You can now use the ‘Place Signature’ option to put your electronic signature of any size, on any document.

Mac OSX / Preview

In Preview open up the Annotations Toolbar (the pencil looking thing) and navigate to the signature button, click ‘Manage Signatures…’, and then press the ‘+’ sign in the bottom left corner to add a new signature. Follow the prompts to use your MacBook or iMac’s camera to take a picture of a signed sheet of paper. Now you can use the Annotations Toolbar to sign documents.

Easily Merge Multiple .PDF Files or Select Pages with OSX’s Preview

 When applying to firms via email it might give your application a more professional touch if you combine your cover letter, resume, transcripts, etc. into a single .PDF file instead of having multiple .PDF attachments. Mac users are in luck; you can do this very easily with Preview.

In Preview, open all the documents you want to merge together. Make sure thumbnail view is enabled (the sidebar on the left that lists thumbnail pictures of each page in the document). Bring the documents up on the screen side-by-side, and begin to drag-and-drop thumbnails from one document’s sidebar to the other document’s sidebar. When you’re finished and have one cohesive and properly ordered document, go to the print menu and ‘Save as PDF’ using the option in the bottom left corner.

 Sadly Adobe Reader does not allow you to merge .PDFs without having a paid subscription, but Windows users can still use free services like pdfmerge.com.

Until next time,

Michael

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