While job hunters strive to make their resumes stand out from the pack, so recruiters are constantly seeking ways to deal efficiently with large numbers of applicants for an advertised position. Some HR departments have turned to scanning technology to enable them to screen resumes and match candidates’ skills with the requirements of a job vacancy.
With advances in Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, it’s possible for computer software to scan a batch of resumes and filter them electronically according to specific criteria. Resume scanning cuts down the workload and time demands on the human reviewer who needs to quickly draw up a short list of candidates to be considered for interview.
Here are seven top tips for creating a resume which scanning software can read easily:
1. Use a 12 pt or 14 pt sans-serif font. Avoid fancy lettering or symbols and any font in which individual characters touch each other. A decorative typeface may confuse the scanning software.
2. Use font styles sparingly: avoid underlining, hollow bullets and bold or italic text which may not be recognized by the scanner. Consider using upper case characters for headings.
3. Put your name and contact information at the top of each page. Put your name, each part of your address and each telephone number on a separate line.
4. Flush all text to the left (except your name and contact information, which can be centered if you prefer.) Avoid using columns, tables or horizontal lines to divide sections of content.
5. Don’t use colored paper for a scannable resume. Any shading or colored background may reduce its legibility. White paper will ensure the clearest definition of your text.
6. Make sure your resume is cleanly printed. The scanner may try to interpret smudges or dirty marks as if they were text. Send a laser printed copy or a good definition photocopy if possible.
7. Use a sufficiently large envelope to submit your resume unfolded. Creases, folds and staples may degrade the scanning quality of your documents.
In the digital workplace, smart job hunters can take advantage of technology to create resumes which deliver targeted content to a potential employer in a ‘scanner friendly’ format. In some cases it can be useful to create two versions of the same resume, a ‘presentation resume’ for the human reader and a ‘text resume’ for scanning purposes.