Before you write your resume in a word processor, print it, and hand out copies to prospective employers, you should consider formatting it for easy scanning and retrieval from a computer database.
As you can imagine, dozens, maybe hundreds of resumes bombard employers for a position they would like filled. To sift through each of these manually would probably be too time consuming even for the largest of organizations. To make the search for ideal candidates more efficient, some employers scan and store resumes into a computer database. From there, employers can search the database to retrieve the name of individuals whose resumes contains the keywords or terms they are looking for in a candidate.
How to Get Employer’s to Read Your Electronic Resume
The element of your resume that makes it easy to find in a computer database is the keywords written on it. The particular keywords that should be on your resume are the ones that your prospective employer will use to find you in their database.
A little research will help you determine the right keywords. Scan a few of your targeted job descriptions from online job sites. These online postings are loaded with the keywords that should be on your resume. The hiring manager probably wrote those job descriptions and he will probably be the same person who searches his database of scanned resumes.
Some general examples of keywords most employers will search on are “education,” “skill-set,” “experience,” “talents and abilities.”
Successful Electronic Resumes Includes These Elements
Beyond the importance of having the “right” keywords on your resume, the other words on your resume are also important. For instance, your resume should contain nouns. Your resume should have descriptive words like software programmer, project manager, or Acme Corporation.
Try not to use abbreviations of words if it is not common. For example, you could assume people know that BA spelled out means Bachelor of Arts. When you write your resume, be sure it contains words most people will understand. In other words, write it using normal language.
Successful Electronic Resumes Follows These Formatting Guidelines
You understand what your prospective employer is looking for in a job candidate and you have loaded your resume with targeted keywords that should turn up on a search. However, you still need to make sure your resume is easy to scan and OCR software can capture the data accurately. OCR or Optical Character Recognition software extracts the words off a scan of your resume. The computer database stores the scan results.
Here are some resume formatting tips for the best scans:
Avoid using fancy style fonts that some OCR software may have trouble interpreting. In other words, stick with conventional fonts such as Times Roman. Resist the urge to emphasize words using underlines or italics. Those words may show up as gobbledygook.
OCR software reads text and not graphics, so do not include anything too complicated like tables and leading dots. Use white space between sections of your resumes so the OCR software can determine the start and the end. Make sure you include a separate line that has your name first, then your contact information.
After you have incorporated the formatting suggestions listed above, print your resume with black ink on either white or beige colored paper for the best scan result possible.
You might be the most qualified candidate for a job opening, but if your resume does not meet the standards of an Electronic Resume, your prospective employer will never read it. Do your self and your prospective employer a favor by making your resume scanner friendly and he will discover that you are the perfect candidate for the job.