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Career Action Center

Creating a Scannable or Electronic Résumé

Many employers use scanners to read résumés and change the data into electronic information stored in a database. They search the database by key words and retrieve résumés of applicants who meet their requirements.

To create a scanner-friendly résumé, follow these guidelines:

  • Print with black ink on white paper (8 ½ x 11).
  • Place wide margins around the text.
  • Select a sans serif font such as Arial or Helvetica.
  • Do not fold, staple, or paperclip documents.
  • Use a font size of 12 to 14 points.
  • Do not use bold, italics, underline, or shadows.
  • Use capital letters for section headings.
  • Place name, address, phone, and email on separate lines.
  • No vertical or horizontal lines, graphics, boxes or pictures.
  • Avoid parentheses and brackets.
  • Avoid bullets; use asterisks or dashes instead.
  • Do not use a format with columns.
  • Include key words such as the names of software applications (Word, Excel, Access) and the skills you possess (accounts receivable, programming, medical terminology).
  • Use an original laser copy

Electronic Résumé

In addition to your résumé in Word format, you will probably need an electronic form that can be posted on the Web. To create an electronic résumé:

  • Open your résumé in Word.
  • Change your font to Courier, so that all letters take the same amount of space.
  • Set your margins to 1.6 on the left and right.
  • Remove bullets, boxes, columns, and lines.
  • Save as TEXT ONLY. Ignore warning that formatting will be lost.
  • Turn on the Show/Hide function and check that there is a hard return at the end of each line, and that all line breaks are where you want them.
  • Close your résumé in Word.
  • Open the text version. Be sure your FILES OF TYPE is set to ALL FILES. Your document will not show up in Word.
  • Check that all line breaks are where you want them.
  • Add visual interest to your text résumé by using the following from your keyboard:
    • Asterisks
    • Hyphens
    • Plus signs
    • Capital letters
    • Dashes and lines
  • You can emphasize words by using asterisks (***SAM SMITH***)
  • To indent or center words, use the space bar
  • Save your document as TEXT ONLY WITH LINE BREAKS. This ensures that people receive your résumé in the format you created. Check your formatting by emailing yourself a copy from a different computer.