Scannable resume

Scannable resume

More and more employers now request that you include a scannable resume when applying for jobs.

What’s a scannable resume?

In 2000, up to 50% of large corporations scan resume into a computer database before calling applicants. This means that your resume is seen by a computer first. And computers read resumes differently than people.

After these hundreds (or thousands) of resumes are scanned, hiring managers search the database using keywords that describe the job they’re trying to fill. If your resume has enough of the keywords that the hiring manager is using, your resume will pop up during this search. Thus, your chances of getting a job interview will increase accordingly.

This is a growing trend that’s expected to cover up to 80% of all companies by the year 2000, according to one report.

To format your resume and make it easier for employers to scan, do the following:

  • Change the typeface to Arial (10-12 point type).
  • Eliminate all underlining, bolding, italics and graphics.
  • Ensure that your name is at the top of the page, as scanners assume that whatever comes first is a name. If your resume has two pages, put your name and Page Two on the second page.
  • Include a keyword section after your name, on page one. This is a noun-intensive description of your experience and skills.
    Example keywords: manager, managing, management, BS Computer Science, mainframes, programming, programmer.
    See example keyword resumes in our resume templates directory.
  • Use a high quality laser printer.
  • Print the resume on white paper.
  • Attach two pages with a paper clip – never use staples.


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