Categorized | Advice

How to Create a Scannable Resume

Posted on 08 November 2008

You’ve been searching Brilliantpeople and have found the perfect job. Problem is, you need to e-mail a scannable resume to the recruiter. Will your standard resume work, with its bullets and fancy heading? Not quite. However, you will need it as we create a new version from your old resume. Here’s how it works: Your new scannable resume will be scanned into an “electronic applicant tracking” database. From there, an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) system, will sort the image by letters and symbols.

Part One: Keywords that grab the OCR!

What kind of keywords do you need? First, you’ll need to compose your resume primarily of nouns, rather than verbs. For example, “Webmaster” is easier for the OCR system to pick up than, “In charge of maintenance, design, and security of web site”.

Part Two: Take out that fancy formatting!

  • If the font isn’t already Times, Helvetica, or Palatino, change it to one of those or a sans serif style.
  • Keep between 12-14 point size, preferably 12 point.
  • Use bold or capital letters for headings.
  • Make sure to label everything. Some sample labels are name, email, fax, experience, etc.
  • Put your name at the top of every page.
  • Type your name and contact info on separate lines.
  • Take out the bullets, boxes and graphics.
  • Do not use a two-column format
  • Do not put in dates that are not education or work-related.
  • Always spell check!Now you’re ready to send it either by snail mail or e-mail. If you are mailing it to the prospective company, print your resume on high quality white paper, preferably laser printed. Make sure not to staple pages together or fold the resume. If you are emailing, make sure that the document is in ASCII text format.
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    1 Comments For This Post

    1. Resume Tips says:

      I agree with your advice about fonts. Fonts are more important than one may think! Sticking to standard fonts such as Times or other serif fonts like Calibri looks much more professional than using an unusual font such as Minya Nouvelle or Ligurino. True, Minya and Ligurino are two very beautiful fonts, but they are highly inappropriate for a professional resume. Pay attention to points as well. An 11 or 12-point font is standard.

      Resume to Referral
      Resume and Career Services

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