EDITOR'S POST

What about paper resumes and optical character readers?

Q. What about paper resumes and optical character readers?

A. Whenever you submit a resume by fax or paper mail, you can be certain that someone will scan your c.v. into a database and later do a keyword search. The optical character recognition (OCR) technology is ubiquitous.

To skip scanning, many prefer to receive resumes by e-mail.

Some hints for paper resumes:

Avoid unusually colored or odd-sized paper. Use white non-textured paper only. Off-white or beige paper increases the number of OCR errors; other colors or textures may interfere even with photocopying, when your potential employer makes copies to pass around to others in the hiring process. Be careful of your copy quality. Let your resume stand out in other ways. Use 8.5"x11" paper (US; A4 in Europe). To a human being anything looks better on bond paper. Don't staple multi-page resumes, or staple anything (business cards) to resumes. If you want to avoid folding the resume, mail it in an 8 1/2" x 11" envelope. Creases may interfere with scanning, but this is much less of a problem than, say, small fonts.

Unusual fonts, underlining, italics, script, and graphics (clip art, shaded backgrounds, leader dots, black rules/bars, boxes) don't scan well. Stick to Courier or Times Roman. Emphasize headers sparingly using a boldface font.

Leave wide margins and a lot of white space.

Two-sided (duplex) resumes are inconvenient.

Don't highlight items with color markers.

Small fonts don't scan or fax well. Use 12pt or larger. Sans-serif fonts (such as Helvetica) give fewer errors than serif fonts (like Times Roman).

Do not use a dot-matrix printer (doesn't scan or fax well). If the resume is produced by a laser printer or a xerocopier, be very wary of stray toner marks that look sloppy to humans and confuse scanners. Load fresh toner/drum if you must.

Posted by The Editor |
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