Tips on Writing a "Scannable" Resume


Today, more and more companies are starting to electronically scan resumes to maximize efficiency in their search for new employees. A scannable resume maximizes the computer's ability to read your resume. It maximizes your ability to get "hits." (A hit is when one of your skills matches the computer search).

The following are tips that will help you make your resume more easily scannable:

  • Use San Serif fonts. These are fonts that do not have little diagonal slash marks at the end of horizontal lines to make the letters fancy. The following fonts are best to use: Times, Arial, Palatino, Helvetica, Futura, Optima, New Century Schoolbook, Bookman, and Courier.
  • Font sizes should be between 11-14 points.
  • Avoid italics, script, and underlining words.
  • Avoid any graphics and shading.
  • Do not compress your resume to make it fit one one page. More white space means a scannable resume.
  • Use horizontal and vertical lines sparingly. It is best to avoid them entirely, but if you do choose to include a line, make sure there is plenty of room on either side.
  • NEVER use a dot-matrix printer. Use an ink jet or laser printer to ensure a good quality print job.
  • Always send originals, even for degree titles. When in doubt, write it out.
  • Do use industry jargon and abbreviations (like MIS for Management Information Systems) whenever possible. Scanners are programmed to search for key words on a resume, so try to use as many as possible.
  • Use light colored (white or ivory) 8.5 x 11 paper. Print on one side only!
  • Your name should stand alone on the first line of your resume. Put your address below your name, not next to it or above it.
  • Explain any unfamiliar job titles.
  • No staples!
  • Do not fold your resume. Send it in a large envelope (make sure it has enough postage).