Computer Scanning of Resumes
Many large companies use a computer program to copy thousands of
resumes into a computer database so they do not have to handle, sort and
store resumes by hand. Companies do not even have to look at resumes
without the "right" qualifications since resumes are sorted by key
words. Clues to what key words to include are found in the position
description or classified advertisement. Circle words that describe
qualifications, experience, skills and job requirements.
Try to use these words in single-line statements in the
highlights/strengths section. As long as the key words appear on the
page, they are identified in the scan and search process. Thus, your
resume stands a better chance of being selected for closer review.
Make your resume "scanner-friendly" so the computer has no trouble
reading it. Make the following changes if you plan to send your resume
to a company that electronically scans resumes:
- Remove italic, bold, bullets and underline designations.
- Remove parentheses, shading, graphics and horizontal lines.
- Remove anything on the first line other than your name.
- Use a type size between 11 and 14 points.
Ideas adapted from Joyce Lain Kennedy’s book "The Electronic
Resume Revolution."John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1998.
This completes the worksheet portion and your preliminary work on
Just in case you are wondering if doing all of this yourself is worth
it, remember, you are the only person that knows everything about what
you have done. Only you can decide what types of jobs you are interested
in, what skills you would like to emphasize, and what examples you have
to support each. Furthermore, now that you have done all of this, you
are ready for tough interview questions like "why should we hire you?"
and you can demonstrate a knowledge of the skills necessary to do the
Next, you are ready to type a draft on computer. We recommend a
software package with flexibility, such as Microsoft Word or Word
Perfect. But any word processing package you are familiar with is fine.
Be sure to save your work on disk so that you can have it
reviewed/critiqued, and then make revisions easily. Also, it makes
having several versions of your resume for different job objectives a
Here are a few final tips to review:
- Keep your resume short and simple - limit to one page
- Capitalize section headings.
- Use bullet dots (• ) or an asterisk (*) for lists to make
them easier to read.
- Keep sentences short.
- Be positive, avoid terminology like "limited".
- Be honest, don’t exaggerate. Make sure you can support all
- Don’t mention salary or wages on the resume.
- Use 8.5" x 11" standard sized paper, don’t use legal size
just to get it on one page!
- Use quality bond paper in neutral color such as white,
ivory, or gray.
- Make quality copies.
- Make good use of white space and margins to avoid looking
- Use a standard type font (such as Times New Roman) and keep
most text at 12 point size.
- Proofread for spelling errors, (you can also do spell check,
but don’t rely on it 100%).
When you are finished, have someone look it over for aesthetics as
well as content. Correct/revise as necessary. Keep it up-to-date. Revise
for different job objectives.