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14 Tips for Writing a Scannable Resume

  • Use a clear type face. Preferably, Sans Serif or Times.
  • Boldface is accepted by most systems. Unless an employer specifically tells to not use boldface, you may use it.
  • Use a font size of 10 to 14. Anything smaller may not be picked up by some scanners.
  • Avoid using italic text, script, and underlined passages. When italic and script are together they sometimes touch causing an error in the scanning process.
  • Avoid using graphics and shading. Scanners will be slowed trying to read a large graphic or table.
  • Use few horizontal and vertical lines. Horizontal lines may blur when scanned.
  • Avoid compressing space between lines. Don't try to squeeze everything onto one page. This will confuse a scanner.
  • Never use a nine-pin dot matrix printer. You should use a 24-pin or even a laser printer. This makes the resumes more professional looking.
  • Always send originals. With an original you won't have any specks or smudges.
  • Minimize the use of general abbreviations. Some scanners will not recognize abbreviations unless they are already programmed in.
  • Maximize the use of industry jargon and abbreviations. Industry terms will be programmed in to help the employer separate the good from the bad.
  • Use a traditional resume structure. Avoid confusing layouts.
  • Avoid a four-page resume on a folded 11" X 17" sheet. The recruiter will have to tear the sheets.
  • Use light-colored, standard 8.5" X 11" paper. The more contrast between ink and paper the better.

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