Tips for Creating a Scannable Resume
by Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert
A resume can be attractive and still be scannable. Since companies use different scanning hardware and software, it is impossible to know for sure how to format a resume.
The best way to ensure your document is formatted properly is to call the company’s HR department and find out if there are specific guidelines. If you don’t have this information, there are steps you can take to optimize your resume’s scannability:
- One of the most important factors is whether or not letters touch each other. Scanning systems have difficulty interpreting characters that are melded into one, so make sure no characters touch each other. Italics and bold are both fine, as long as the letters do not touch.
- Choose a common, nondecorative sans serif font (such as Arial or Optima) and keep the font size between 10 and 14 points.
- Underlining and horizontal/vertical lines are OK, as long as the lines do not touch any of the letters.
- Avoid columns (the optical character recognition program reads the text from left to right).
- Do not use round, hollow bullets because they may be interpreted as the letter “o.” Instead, choose round, solid bullets.
- Do not use ampersands, percent signs or foreign characters because they may not translate properly.
- Add a space in between slashes so they don’t touch the letters (e.g., IT / IS).
- Use light-colored paper (white is best) and avoid paper that contains dark speckles.
- Do not staple your resume.
- Mail your resume in a flat envelope. If you fold your resume and the crease lands on a line of text, the toner may flake off and render the entire line unreadable.
- Make sure you have keywords located throughout your resume so you will be found in a database search.
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