Scannable Formatting Tips
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Digitally Scannable Resume

Digitally Scannable Resumes

To develop an electronic resume you need to be aware that computers read resumes differently than people do.

A proper scannable resume not only maximizes the computers’ ability to “read” your resume but also maximizes your ability to get “hits” (a hit is when one of your skills matches the computer search).

Format

To maximize the computer’s ability to read your resume, provide an original copy 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 Ensuring Your Resume is Scannable:

  • 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.

Content

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 our 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. You should describe your experience using concise, concrete terms rather than vague descriptions.

Tips for Maximizing Hits on your Resume:

  • 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.

Final Tips

You may want to create two separate 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.