Scannable Resume

Creating a scannable resume is something that most job candidates have to understand in today's job marketplace, but unfortunately, fail to do so.

In an effort to save on personnel costs and time, a rapidly growing contingent of companies are turning to resume scanning systems to process, cull through, and maintain your resume information. Resumes are optically scanned into their computers as images and the computers filter through the resume, looking for key information, and create a database of the relevant education, training, skills, related experience, and personal and professional achievements by searching for key words. Companies then can zero in on keywords for the resumes - and potential job candidates - they are most likely to hire. If your resume is done right, your well-crafted, properly prepared resume will contain many, if not all, of the keywords needed to attract the attention of the computer, and later the personal attention of the HR representative.

Typically, you will encounter this hurdle when applying to major companies, large firms, and most government positions. You should ask their human resources representative whether they scan resumes. It's quite simple to prepare a targeted scannable resume, and it should become standard practice to incorporate as many of these elements into your resume.

Here are some basic guidelines for format and content to make the ideal scannable resume:

  • Use standard serif and sans serif fonts (Helvetica or Arial).
  • Do not use fancy fonts. Keep it simple. It must be easy to read.
  • Font sizes should be between 10 points and 14 points.
  • Italics and underlining cause problems for the scanner, especially if combined.
  • Use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS for emphasis. Do this sparingly.
  • Vertical or horizontal lines should be used sparingly, though it is best to skip them.
  • Avoid graphics, shading, or shadowing. Less is more.
  • Do not compress or expand the space between letters or lines.
  • No double spacing within sections.
  • Even if you use a template, your resume must be made original.
  • Single side printing only. Printed from a laser printer on white standard copy paper - 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper.
  • Keep your copy of the resume clean - no staples, hole punches, etc.
  • Faxed resumes do not scan well, always ask if you can email them a copy of your resume for their computer files. Relying on standard mail can take too long.
  • Your name should be the first item at the top of the page as the scanner assumes the name is the first thing on the page.

You can easily convert your resume into an ASCII file by selecting the "save as" option, and picking ASCII from the next drop down menu.

Very seldom do small organizations have the budget necessary for the kind of resume software that this requires, making this style of resume geared solely towards large corporations or firms and organizations with a substantial human resource spending. As your job search will take you many directions, and will align you with many style of companies, having a scannable resume is important to have in your job hunting arsenal. After all, a properly formatted resume is the most conventional method to getting your foot in the door and helping you land that ideal job, enabling you to put your best foot forward.

Here are some additional articles about resumes that you might also find interesting:

You Can Create Your Own Professional Resume

If you would like more information about "How to Write a Professional Resume", the following book is a great resource:

It will show you exactly how to make an exceptional resume -
professionally and quickly.

You'll also find some outstanding articles in the book which will help you with your cover letter and the interviewing process, too.

Since this book is sold as an e-book, you can print off as many copies of the worksheets and forms as you need to help you through the easy-to-follow steps.