Designing a Scannable Resume
- The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service
What happens when you create a beautiful
paper resume and mail or fax it to a company that scans resumes
into a computerized database instead of forwarding it to a hiring
manager for review? It ends up in cyberspace instead of on someone's
desk. This automated process requires some special design considerations
in order to make your resume scanner friendly, which is what this
According to U.S. News & World
Report, more than 1,000 unsolicited resumes arrive every week at
most Fortune 500 companies, and before the days of applicant tracking
systems and resume scanning, 80 percent were thrown out after a
quick review. It was simply impossible to keep track of that much
paper. As companies downsize and human resource departments become
smaller, it is even more important to manage the job application
and screening processes in an efficient manner.
Today, nearly half of all mid-sized
companies and almost all large companies are scanning resumes and
using computerized applicant tracking systems (still just 30 percent
of all job openings, though). Some smaller companies turn to service
bureaus to manage their scanning or to recruiters who scan resumes
because of the volume of resumes they receive every day. If you
are sending your resume to one of these companies and your paper
resume is not formatted in such a way that a scanner can read it,
the words won't be spelled right. And, if the words aren't
spelled right, a keyword search will never turn up your resume.
This section is devoted to helping
you avoid the pitfalls that commonly cause a resume to scan poorly.
This includes choosing the right fonts, laying out the text of your
resume in such a way that it is scanner friendly, selecting the
right paper color, etc. With these guidelines, your resume will
be ready for a hiring manager's computerized keyword search.
If you would rather not worry about
whether your resume is scannable, then simply send your formatted
resume (styled any way you like) along with an unformatted (ASCII
text) resume. Your recipient will then have a choice whether to
scan the "ugly" one or to send the formatted one to the
hiring manager for review. You can never go wrong when you send
From Designing the Perfect
Resume, by Pat Criscito.
Copyright 2000. Reprinted
by arrangement with Barron's Educational Series, Inc.