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Scannable and Electronic Résumés

(View sample of Electronic Resume)

Many organizations use scanners, e-mail, and Internet recruitment to build an electronic résumé library for their hiring needs. The traditional résumé, even from the most perfect candidate, may be lost if it is not redesigned for the computer's eye. Keywords are more important in scannable and on-line résumés because computers often rank an application according to the number of keyword matches. For example, an administrative assistant position might look for "typing score," "WordPerfect," and "Excel." The more times a match is found, the better a résumé ranks. Job seekers should check with companies if scanners are used and if the scanners require special fonts, paper, or styles of type. When e-mailing a résumé, it is important to copy and paste your résumé into the message because an employer may not have the appropriate software to open an attached document. There are many Web sites that allow you to post your resume on-line for employers to review. Follow the general guidelines below to make your résumé technology friendly:

  • Post your résumé on-line before you see an appropriate job opening. Often employers begin reviewing résumés as soon as there is an open position, and if they find an appropriate match, they may never post the opening on-line.

  • Check to see how often résumés are purged from the system. Typically, résumés are removed after six months and you might want to resend yours to remain a candidate for employment.

  • Always place your name as the first item at the top of the page since the scanner assumes that the first line is the applicant's name. Your name and phone number should be on separate lines.

  • Provide a laser printed original if possible. Scanners cannot read a faxed résumé; if you fax a résumé, be sure to also mail a hard copy.

  • Use white or light-colored 8.5" x 11" paper, printed on one side only.

  • Do not fold or staple the résumé.

  • Left justify the entire document.

  • Use a font of 10 to 14 points (avoid Times New Roman 10 point).

  • Use standard serif and sans-serif fonts (i.e., Helvetica, Arial, Times New Roman, Courier). Avoid fonts where the characters touch. Do not condense spacing between letters.

  • No line should exceed 65 characters. End each line by hitting the enter key - automatic word wrapping will create long lines that may not be readable.

  • Italics, boldface, underlining, and reverse type cause problems for scanners, especially if combined. Use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS for emphasis, or set off words with asterisks (*). When using asterisks, there should be a space between the asterisk and the text.

  • Avoid bullets, vertical or horizontal lines, graphics, shading, or shadowing.
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