Key Words and Scannable Formats

Many employers SCAN resumes -- to save time in the initial review process.

Large employers that receive high volumes of resumes, and high tech companies,

are the most likely to scan. The human resources department of these companies

will often provide you with instructions on how to format your resume so it can

be accurately scanned -- i.e. left justified, do not use underline or italics, do not

fold or staple your resume.

Your resume is first “reviewed” by a software program (OCR) that has been

instructed to search for specific “key words” that describe the skills, experience,

education, etc. that the employer is looking for. For your resume make it through

this initial “review,” you need to be sure you have adequately described your skills,

experience and accomplishments using these KEY WORDS.

FORMAT is also important. When the scanning software does not understand the

format, it may misread the information or move pieces of information to the bottom

of the page. This can be very confusing for the person trying to read the scanned

version of your resume. Also, certain type styles such as underline and italics,

and graphics, cannot be “read” by or are misread by scanners.

APPLYING ONLINE: These days you will likely be applying on line – sending your

resume to the employer in electronic format. The best choice in this case is to save

your resume in PDF format and send them that. PDF absolutely preserves the

formatting – what you send is what they get. However, they may ask for your

resume in Word or a generic text format – you need to send your resume in the

format they specify. If you are asked to cut and paste your resume into their

online application, be sure to go in and “clean up” the format – to make it easy

to read and understand.

OVERALL FORMAT / APEARANCE: You want a professional appearance and

format that will make it easy for the reader to find the information they are

looking for. Use logical, descriptive section headings; carefully and

consistently place and highlight dates, job titles and company names.

· Use at least 10 pt fonts.

· Printing on a quality bond paper will enhance the overall appearance.

· Do not fold or staple – mail in a large (9 x 12) envelope.

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