Ready-Made Resumes Professional Resume Builder by Susan Ireland

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Guide for a

Scanner-Friendly Resume

Many of the old accepted "rules" about writing a good resume MUST be DISCARDED when you are creating a resume which will be scanned into a company's Human Resources data base You may want to create and send TWO resumes:
one for the human reader, and
one for the company's scanner.

These guidelines are for the scannable version of your resume.

FIRST contact the company and ask whether they scan incoming resumes. If they DO, you could send two copies -- one to be read by a human being, one to be electronically read by the Resume Scanner device. MAKE SURE you identify which resume is for which purpose (attach a little yellow Post-It).

For a Resume the Scanner Likes

    1. Name ONLY on the top line. Address and phone numbers must be below your name. Otherwise you confuse the scanner -- not a good idea.

    2. Text Only no graphics, no fancy borders, no pretty lines, no shading. Graphically boring is better. Content is what drives the scanner, so give it good content.

    3. Plain Text Only. Say no to italics, bolding, and underlining, as these tend to make the letters run together when scanned. That gives the scanner gibberish rather than your skills and experiences.

    4. Choose a popular font. Choose a popular typeface, such as Times, Palatino, Arial, Universal, Helvetica, or Bookman. The size should be 10-14 points.

    5. Use JOB-SPECIFIC KEY WORDS. Industry terms, buzzwords, jargon; hard skills and commonly used trade terms are what the computer will look for. (If you do not know what those terms are, for your desired job, find out. Informational interviewing is a very effective way to get that information.) You can also include job titles, departments, key functions, relevant personality traits, computer hardware and software, programming languages, academic degrees, fields of study, foreign languages, all relevant to the target job.

    6. Print your scannable resume on a high-resolution laser printer.

    7. Send an ORIGINAL, not a photo copy. The clearer the copy to be scanned, the better job the scanner can do.

HOT TIP for those who already HAVE a resume:
You can transform your existing resume into a SCANNER-FRIENDLY resume by applying suggestions 1, 2, 3, and 4 above to your current resume and then simply ADDING a KEY WORDS SECTION -- which is merely a collection of key words or phrases separated by a comma or period and topped with a heading, "Key Words". You could put the Key Word Section at the bottom of your resume, or near the top. And remember that a computer -- unlike a human reader -- will not be turned off by a long resume, so there's no need to skimp on a Scannable Resume, as long as everything is relevant to the target job.

©1999 Yana Parker,

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