Your Scannable Resume To Work On All Systems
As the example above shows,
older scanning software can cause scanned resumes to look very
different than your original resume. However, this doesn't happen with
new, more sophisticated scanning systems. For example, Resumix keeps a
snapshot of your resume which can be printed. This allows your resume
to be scanned as well as being stored as a picture without changing it.
But, many employers may not have this newer sophisticated software
because such systems can cost up to $100,000. As a result, many
employers are still using scanning software that is older and results
in scanning problems. Therefore, you need to design your scannable
resume to be scanned correctly by both older and newer scanning
If you have typed your resume with a word
processor all you need to do is convert it into an ASCII file, or plain
text format with line breaks, by using your word processing program's
"save as" option. Converting your file will remove formatting commands
such as bolding, centering, bullets and graphic lines.
When you print your resume from this plain text
format you'll see that is very plain and downright ugly just like
Fran's scanned resume. But, it's now very computer friendly. Here are
the steps I took to convert Fran's nice looking resume into an ASCII or
plain text format. I used MS Word and Notepad which made these steps
very easy. You may find that your wordprocessing program or text editor
works slightly differently. Don't be afraid to experiment - but save
each version of your resume as you work on it. Especially your original
resume! Test and proof read each version of your resume that you create.
Converting Your Resume To ASCII or Plain Text
With Line Breaks
| Step 1
|| Created and saved Fran's
nicely formatted resume using MS Word as a word document.
| Step 2
|| Opened the resume word
document file using MS Word.
Took out all underlining, lines, bolding, centering, italicizing,
bullets, indents or special formatting commands.
Used asterisks *'s or hyphens -"s to replace bullets.
Highlighted all text and selected Courier 12 (a non-proportional font)
and left aligned my text.
Took off the bullets created with Word's bullet function and checked
all lines carefully for words that had been dropped onto a line by
Double checked each line to make sure that it had word wrapped with no
Set the page margins at 6.5 inches.
I found I had fewer formatting problems, later, if I took out all
formatting commands (bullets, underlining, bolding, etc.) before I went
to the next step.
| Step 3
|| Used the "save as" command to
save the file under a different name as "text only with line breaks."
| Step 4
|| Opened this file using MS
Put a blank line between my headings and paragraphs to make Fran's
skill headings stand out.
Took out a couple of extra blank lines I didn't need.
Checked and corrected any other errors.
| Step 5
|| Saved this file under a
different file name using MS Notepad's "save as" command. It
automatically saves the file as a .txt (text file).
| Step 6
|| Printed the file. Proofread
Fran's resume and used the hard copy as her scannable resume. (Print
scannable resumes on white paper only and only send originals).
| Step 7
|| To e-mail, opened a new MS
Internet Explorer e-mail message. Put my cursor in the body of the
e-mail message and used the "insert text file" command to bring in
Fran's MS Notepad resume file.
Checked Fran's resume again to make sure it didn't have any errors and
if so corrected them.
Posting To Resume Banks
| Step 8
|| Went to each employer's
website online resume builder form. Opened my MS Notepad file and
copied and pasted appropriate sections from my Notepad file into the
online resume builder form.
and Inserting Cover Letters
| Step 9
|| Used Steps 1 - 5 to create my
cover letter with MS Word and convert it with MS Notepad.
Followed Step 7 to insert my letter into my MS Internet Explorer e-mail
message above my resume.
How Are Scanned Resumes Sorted?
Once your resume is scanned,
much or all of all the text from your resume is put into a database
program. This database program will then be used to sort all resumes by
key words, hot industry buzz words, areas of experience and education. For
example, a Department Manager might want to hire a Marketing
Representative with 5 years sales experience, new product marketing,
cold calling and territory management background. These key words can
be put into the database program and a sort function performed on all
resumes in the database. All resumes which have these key words in them
will be sorted and pulled from the database. Some scanning systems rank
the resulting resumes and score them based on the total number of key
words in each resume.
Why Key Words Are Important and How To Identify
To ensure that your resume is
selected from a sort, you must include the key words an employer will
sort resumes by. One way to identify key words is to underline all
skills listed in ads and job descriptions for the types of jobs you
want. Include these skills at the top of your resume in a section like
the one below. Most key words that employers sort by are nouns such as
Accounting Manager. However, verbs such as "troubleshoot" or
"calibrate" may be used to sort for some positions such as electronic
E-Mail, Scannable, Or Nicely Formatted - Which Is
If an employer gives you the
option of either submitting a scannable resume by mail or by submitting
a resume by e-mail, choose e-mail. Sending an e-mail resume is better
because e-mail is already in electronic, plain text format that
database systems can readily accept - with no errors. With any
scannable resume you still run some risk of OCR programs creating an
error when reading your resume. If you must send a scannable
resume, also include a nicely formatted resume. Put a post-it note on
this version that states, "Visual Resume." On your plain text resume
put a post-it note that says, "Scannable Resume." If an employer
doesn't scan resumes - then he'll have a nicely formatted resume to
How Many Employers Scan Resumes?
Below is a breakdown of "Where People Work" derived from U.S.
Department of Labor reports. As you can see the greatest majority of
jobs (66%) are filled by small organizations with 1-250 employees. The
next greatest percentage (18%) of jobs are filled by medium sized
organizations with 250-1000 employees. The smallest percentage (16%) of
jobs are filled by large sized organizations with 1000+ employees. As
you can see about 2/3 of all people work in small organizations.
With electronic scanning and database systems
costing up to $100,000 you'll probably find that many employers, those
employing less than 250 to 100 employees, don't use scanning systems
because it's just too costly and their demand isn't high enough. You
may also find that these same employers don't have employer websites
which offer online resume building forms. But, a high percentage of
these companies will have employees with e-mail addresses.
This info can help you strategize how you'll
contact employers based on their size. If you're unsure if an employer
accepts scanned resumes, e-mail resumes or has an on-line site - call
them and ask.
$9,000 Salary Increase
first resume workshop in this site shows how Fran's after resume
resulted in a $9,000 salary increase.
Fran wanted a $33,000 Corporate Customer
Representative job but her resume created an image of her being at a
$20,000 to 24,000 salary level -- that's $9,000 to $13,000 beneath her
Level Does Your Resume Market You At?
you are curious to see what level your resume is marketing you at …
then be sure to read and use the graphing techniques in my first
graphing the job titles used in Fran's resume it's easy to see why her
resume failed … and once you understand this … you will understand why
the majority of resumes fail. You'll
then understand how to analyze your job titles and see if you are
better off using them or replacing them with skill headings that market
you more effectively.
Most People Have Job
Titles that Weaken Their Image
estimate that at least 85% of all job seekers have job titles unrelated
to their current career goals … and that they are much better off using
skill headings rather than job titles to land higher salaries and
double and triple their interview rates.
For example, Fran had been a
Directory Operator but in most people's minds that doesn't sound like
she's at the level of a Corporate Customer Representative making
$33,000 … that's because most people don't view directory operators as
providing true customer service. Most
people say that Directory Operator sounds like someone making only
by using the 12 Questions in my Proven Resumes Series, Fran wrote a new
description of her duties as a Directory Operator that described her
being selected out of 100 Directory Operators to provide specialized
Customer Service to the Governor's Office and Political Dignitaries in
the Washington State Capitol … now that information begins to change
our image of Fran doesn't it? That
makes her sound much more like someone being able to command $33,000.
Which sounds like a better
match for the $33,000 Corporate Customer Service Representative goal…
her old job title of Directory Operator
… or a skill heading like Customer Service
Representative to State of Washington Account.
In Fran's actual resume we used the heading of
Customer Service Representative but you can see how you can play with
skill headings to control and elevate your image … this is one strategy
I explain in detail with examples throughout my book, Proven Resumes:
Strategies That Have Increased Salaries, and one of the strongest
things I can offer you as a resume writer … just in case you don't have
the time or patience to write your own.
from 0% to 100% Interview Rate
using skill headings that matched her goal, Fran went from a 0%
interview rate to a 100% interview rate -- meaning none of her prior
resumes had landed an interview but her new resume landed an interview
for each position she applied for.
Click here to learn other ways
we improved Fran's resume and landed her a job paying $9,000 more
click here to read
my first set of resume workshops! If you've entered my site via this
page, be sure to go to my home
page for an overview of more than 60 Free Resume & Job Search
Workshops that include tons of Resume Tips for 45
Career Fields, Job Search, Electronic Resume, Cover Letter,
Interviewing, Networking and Confidence Building strategies.
The testimonials at the top of
this page and throughout my site describe salary increases ranging from
$10,000 to $30,000 and more. Here's
one of my most recent ones:
|Regina, the resume you
wrote caught the attention of the world's leading software
manufacturer. Thanks for helping inspire me through your
thoughtful questions and objective interpretation of my work history.
I'm sure it made a big
difference in my ability to be recognized in a competitive environment
and cross the $100,000 threshold. By the way, the offer I
accepted was an increase of $25K annually (21% increase).
Rachel Pizarro, Senior Sales Account Executive / Operations Manager
For More Information
My booklets contain complete
before and after scanned resume examples with a detailed list of
guidelines on how to format a scanned resume and create key word
summaries. Most importantly they show you how to create a resume with
strong content that sells you!