Designing a Scannable Resume
by ResumeEdge.com - The Net's Premier Resume Writing & Editing Service
What happens when you create a beautiful paper résumé and mail or fax it to a company that scans résumés 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 résumé scanner friendly, which is what this section addresses.
According to U.S. News & World Report, more than 1,000 unsolicited résumés arrive every week at most Fortune 500 companies, and before the days of applicant tracking systems and résumé 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 résumés 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 résumés because of the volume of résumés they receive every day. If you are sending your résumé to one of these companies and your paper résumé 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 résumé.
This section is devoted to helping you avoid the pitfalls that commonly cause a résumé to scan poorly. This includes choosing the right fonts, laying out the text of your résumé in such a way that it is scanner friendly, selecting the right paper color, etc. With these guidelines, your résumé will be ready for a hiring manager's computerized keyword search.
If you would rather not worry about whether your résumé is scannable, then simply send your formatted résumé (styled any way you like) along with an unformatted (ASCII text) résumé. 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 both styles.
Understanding the Technology
From Designing the Perfect Resume,by Pat Criscito.
Copyright 2000. Reprinted by arrangement with Barron's Educational Series, Inc.