Developing a Scannable Resume
Many companies have and continue to use electronic resume scanning as part of their employment process. Typically, once a resume is receive it it scanned into a resume database, which then allows computers to read all resume text to search for relevant education, experience, and skills.
The purpose of a scannable resume is the same as that of a traditional resume – to help you find a job! But, the design and format of a scannable resume is quite different than a traditional resume. To develop an electronic resume you need to be aware that computers read resumes differently than people do. The following characteristics are important in developing a scannable resume:
A. Scannable Resumes
- Maximize the computers’ ability to “read” your resume.
- Maximizes your ability to get “hits” (a hit is when one of your skills matches the computer search).
To maximize the computer’s ability to read your resume, please
provide an original and use a standard style resume. The computer can
extract skills from many styles of resumes such as chronological,
achievement, functional, and combination resume formats.
The most difficult resume for the computer to read is a poor quality
copy that has an unusual format such as newspaper layout, adjusted
spacing, large font sizes, graphics or lines, type that is too light,
or paper that is too dark.
Tips for Maximizing Scannability:
- To Place your name at the top of the page on its own line (can also be the first text on additional pages).
- Use standard address format on the line below your name.
- Use white or light-colored 8 x 11 paper printed on one side only with dark, crisp type.
- Provide the cleanest version possible: either a laser printed original or a high quality photocopy.
- Use standard typefaces, such as Helvetica, Times, Palatino, Courier, and New Century Schoolbook.
- Use a font size of 10 to 14 points.
- Highlight information using bold or CAPITAL letters.
- Avoid italics, underline, shadows, scripts, and reverses.
- Avoid vertical and horizontal lines, graphics, boxes and multiple-column formats.
- Do not fold or staple your resume.
The computer extracts information from your resume. You can use your current resume; however, once you understand what the computer searches for, you may decide to add a few key words to increase your opportunities for matching requirements or getting “hits”.
At The Arnold Group, we access the resume database in many ways. We may search for your resume specifically or search for applicants with specific experience. When searching for specific experience, we will search for key words, usually nouns such as: technical writer, BS, Marketing, machine operator, secretary, accountant, and/or computer operator, etc. Please describe your experience using concise, concrete terms rather than vague descriptions.
Tips for Maximizing Hits:
- Avoid vague descriptions, instead use concrete words to describe your experience:
- Instead of:“Worked on company newsletter,”
- Try:“Designed and laid out monthly company-wide newsletter in MS Publisher 98."
- Instead of:“Responsible for managing, training… ”
- Try:“Managed a team of software engineers.”
- Use specific key words that define your skills, experience, education, and professional affiliations.
- Include buzzwords, acronyms, and terms specific to your industry or specialty (spell out acronyms for the human reader).
- Use common headings such as Objective, Experience, Skills, Summary, Accomplishments, Education, Affiliations, References, etc.
- List additional key words otherwise not captured in your resume, for example, Microsoft Word, Internet, Lotus 1-2-3, Time Management, Dependable, etc.
- Use more than one page if necessary.
D. Final Tips
You may want to create TWO resumes:
- One for the computer to read – with a scannable format and detailed information.
- One for people to read – possibly with a creative layout, enhanced typography, and summarized information. Carry this one to the interview.