After an employer has your scannable resume, computer software extracts from it a summary of basic information, pulling out factors like your name, contact information, skills, work history, years of experience, and education. Scanned resumes and their extracted summaries sleep peacefully until an HR specialist or recruiter searches the summaries by keywords to retrieve candidates who match the requirements of a job opening. The technology ranks candidates, from the most qualified to the least qualified. The relevant resumes get a wake-up call and pop to the recruiting screen, where human eyes take over the recruiting tasks.
Scannable resumes are on their way out, in favor of intake systems that allow resumes to travel smoothly online into an electronic resume-management database. These days, the first review of your resume is more likely to be a software program, known as an applicant tracking system (ATS), than a human being interested in the quality of your paper stock and the power of your prose. While those qualities will be important in subsequent rounds, your first challenge will be to win over a very sophisticated machine that plays by its own complex rules. But don’t trash your scannable resume just yet. If an employer or job site directs you to send a resume that can be scanned, do it.
Take these steps to prevent scanning errors from putting you on the sidelines:
Use type that’s clear and readable. Don’t use a condensed typeface. White space separates letters; no space smushes them together. Letters must be distinctively clear with crisp, unbroken edges. Avoid artsy, decorative typefaces.
Use a larger font for section headings and your name. A font size of 14 to 16 points is good. Larger headings look better on the electronic image of your resume when people read it. As an example, you could format the body of your resume in a 12-point font size, the section headings in 14-point, and the name in 16-point.
Keep your scannable resume simple in design and straightforward. Recruiters call this approach “plain vanilla,” and they like it because it doesn’t confuse computers.
Send your paper resume without staples. Paper clips are okay. Follow this tip for all resumes that you mail or hand deliver because staples are a pain to pull out before feeding a scanner one page at a time.
Information courtesy of DUMMIES.com