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Preparing a Scannable Resume

Q: What is a scannable resume and how does it differ from a conventional resume?
A: A scannable resume is designed to be entered into a computerized database using an optical scanner. The optical scanner reads the resume and stores it in text form. There are very few differences between a conventional or eye appealing resume and a scannable resume. However, a resume read and selected by a computer does not have the benefit of having a human's subjective input and interpretations. The computer selects resumes based on specific key words or phrases that are commonly used in a particular industry. Scannable resumes are more "searchable" when the language is clear and concise, and when the format highlights skills and accomplishments using industry specific keywords.

To increase your chances of being preselected when using a scannable resume, use the guidelines below.

  • Use white or light colored quality bond paper.
  • Provide a laser-printed original.
  • Do not fold or staple.
  • Use standard typefaces such as Times, Helvetica, or Courier.
  • Use a font size of 10 - 14 point.
  • Avoid fancy treatments such as italics, underline, shadows, and reverse (white letters on black background).
  • Avoid graphics and boxes.
  • Place your name at the top of the page on its own line.
  • Use standard address format below your name.
  • List each phone number on its own line.
Last Updated 1/8/14