General Guidelines on Preparing a Scannable Résumé
This handout provides a traditional résumé sample and a scannable résumé sample for a comparison as well as general guidelines on writing scannable résumé.
Contributors:Sachiko Sakamuro, Allen Brizee, and Katy Schmaling
Last Edited: 2013-03-11 10:20:34
When required to submit a scannable résumé, you should check with the potential employer regarding specific guidelines. The following are general guidelines to avoid having your résumé overlooked.
- Note that it is acceptable to have a one-and-a-half to two page résumé.
- Left justify the entire document.
- Place your name at the top of the page on its own line.
- Use standard address format below your name.
- If you have more than one address, one should be placed on top of the other.
- List each phone number on its own line.
- Avoid vertical and horizontal lines, graphics, and boxes/tables.
- Avoid using special characters such as bullets.
- Avoid punctuation as much as possible. The computer might not recognize a word with a comma or period after it. If you must have punctuation, be sure it does not touch the word.
- Use standard serif fonts such as Times New Roman, Courier, and Palatino or sans serif fonts such as Arial, Futura, and Univers.
- Use a font size of 10 to 12 points.
- Avoid fancy font styles such as italics, underline, and shadows.
- Boldface and capital letters are acceptable as long as the letters do not touch each other.
- Avoid condensing the space between letters because they may touch.
- Provide white space between words. For example, separate the area code from a phone number with a space rather than parentheses: 555 123 - 4567 (also notice the space before and after the hyphen).
- Research the industry or position you are interested in to make yourself familiar with the keywords in the particular industry.
- Use keywords that appear in the job description in describing your qualifications.
- Use more phrases and nouns than action verbs. For example, instead of writing "designed promotional materials" use a noun such as "promotions designer" or "designer of promotions."
- Use only those abbreviations that are familiar with your field of study.
- Create a keyword summary section at the beginning of your résumé.