HOW TO CREATE A GOOD SCANNABLE RESUME
One part of your job search is posting your resume for online positions. In fact, many companies now require applicants do so to be considered for an open position. So in addition to being well-written and impactful, you need to have a resume that can be scanned into a company database. To do this, you should address both content and format aspects of your resume.
- Remember key words. Today’s scanning software allows an HR specialist or recruiter to put in at least 15 key words. The key words may be related to education, experience, skills, or achievements. Your resume will be screened out if the program finds that you have fewer key words than your competition. Examples of key words could be “results achieved,” “project manager,” “PMP,” “team oriented”, or “supply chain.”
Read the job description carefully to understand how you may need to add certain key words to your biography.
- Focus your key words on your industry or job category. Industries will have certain jargon or key certifications that will be relevant. If you are in doubt about using a certain word or phrase, consult a reference such as the Electronic Resume Revolution by Joyce Lain Kennedy. This book gives an extensive listing of key words, sorted by industry.
- Use standard white paper, with black ink only. Don’t be fancy here. Use only 8.5” by 11” white paper, with clear black type. HR “types” don’t tend to like fancy resumes, and neither do their screening software.
- Print with a good quality laser jet printer, not a dot matrix machine.
- Use the typical business fonts, such as Arial or Times Roman. Like fancy paper, using unorthodox font gives you little benefit, but puts you at significant risk of being screened out early, since many scanning software programs are not able to read it.
- Keep your font size readable. There is some debate over how small your resume type can be. A good rule of thumb is to use 10 to 14 size fonts. Anything smaller is hard to scan, and more difficult for the human eye to read as well.
- Do not use “highlighting” fonts like italics, underlining, bolding, or letter shadowing. Some techniques, like using bold to highlight certain employers and experiences, are fine on a traditional resume but will not be recognized by the scanning software.
- Use either bullets or asterisks to highlight your achievements.
- Make sure your name is at the top of every page of your resume.
- Use headings to separate sections of your resume (Summary, Professional Experience, Education, Affiliations & Certifications…). Use all capital letters for all of your headings.
- If you are mailing your resume, always send an original, never a copy.
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