Creating a Scannable Resume

Depending on the job you are applying for, a hiring manager or an HR representative may have dozens to hundreds of resumes and cover letters to read. One way to really make your resume stand out is to make it scannable. By ensuring your resume is easy to scan, the computer software being used will pick up on key elements much easier.

Because computer programs read resumes a little differently than a person does, it is important to write and format your resume in a way that a computer program will pick yours out of a stack of dozens. While these tips can’t ensure that will happen, it will certainly increase your chances. Here’s how to create a scannable resume:

Choosing a Font

When you choose a font for your resume, you need to keep in mind that while a computer  can read script-type fonts, it is certainly not as clear. It’s best to stick to fonts like Times New Roman or Helvetica because they are much easier to read. Furthermore, don’t choose a font that squeezes the letters close together. The more legible your words are, the easier your resume will be to scan.

Use Headlines

A great way to break up the content on your resume is by adding headlines. You can easily do this by taking advantage larger font sizes. Try to keep your font type consistent throughout the resume. Try out using larger-sized fonts to break the resume up into different sections like skills, work history, and awards.

Keep it Horizontal

While you might be tempted to have vertical lines to break up your content, you should avoid doing this because some programs will read these lines as if they were letters. Keep all of your sections and any minor design elements you add horizontal.

Single Column

In attempts to make your resume stand out and appear to have design to it, you might be tempted to use a double column style. However, this can cause computer programs to scan your resume improperly. Keep it simple with a single column style. This will also be easier for anyone in HR to read and scan.

Use Key Words

Because a computer program will be scanning your resume, it’s crucial to use key words. How do you know which words it will be looking for? Review the job posting and identify the most important words used. Think about the skills necessary for the job and make sure you mention them a few times throughout your resume.

Do you have any advice for creating a scannable resume? We’d love to hear about your tips so leave a comment below!