(Resume) Resume Writing Handbook : (ELECTRONIC RESUMES)

RESUME : Resume Writing Handbook :


As the technology has developed, employers (especially, but not exclusively in the technical fields) are taking advantage of new methods to screen candidates. One of these new methods is viewing electronic resumes on various Internet sites. To increase your resume exposure, you may want to locate the resume site(s) most likely to act as a magnet for employers seeking people with your qualifications. Most of these provide a template, within which you enter your personal information and qualifications. You are advised to give your e-mail address as opposed to your home address or telephone number.

A second method employers are using in increasing numbers is scanning all received resumes into their human resource database and then running a search based on "keywords" that are related to the position they are recruiting for. Resumes are ranked automatically according to their content as 'read' by the computer prior to offers for interviews. Scanners and optical character recognition (OCR) software exist in a variety of qualities, and you must ensure that the information you submit will be recognized easily by the computer. You may wish to contact the Human Resources office and ask if they are scanning resumes before you submit yours.

To increase your chances for success in both of the above situations, following are suggestions for formatting your resume:

  • Do not underline or italicize words. Boldface is usually safe to use.

  • Choose a common typeface (eg. Courier) and font no smaller that '10.'

  • Be specific when describing experiences or skills. Use nouns whenever possible, as opposed to a traditional resume which often emphasized verbs.

  • Include a 'Keywords' section early in the resume that is relevant to the position and/or industry. This is a brief list of perhaps ten to fifteen terms which you believe the employer would be screening by.

  For example : 


Computer Programming, C++, Unix, AutoCAD, IBM, Macintosh, Lotus 1-2-3, software design, MS Word, dBaseIII+, WordPerfect 6.0, Sales, Marketing, Teacher :
Another option is to not include a "Keywords" section, but to ensure that such key items are mentioned in the text of the resume. Both methods will work on a keyword scan.

  • Use acronyms as well as full versions.

  • Put your name first and your contact information on a separate line.

  • Leave white space. If it is crowded, the characters may run together when going through the scanner and OCR.

  • Never fold or staple your resume.

  • Avoid vivid colours for the paper. White or a light shade is best.

For more detailed guidelines, Electronic Resume Revolution and Finding a Job on the Internet are excellent sources, and are both available at Student Employment Services.