The final production of your resume, as well as the way you deliver the document to employers, can affect how a computer responds to this very important paper (VIP). Factors such as ink, paper color, and paper quality also can have an impact on how well your resume scans.
Scanners work best when the words in your resume are in sharp color contrast to the paper on which they are printed. Therefore, avoid using cream or buff paper although both are often recommended by traditional resume guides because those colors can diminish the level of contrast between the print and thepage. In addition, do not use blue, brown, or other eye-catching ink colors. Instead, stick with black ink and a high grade of bright white paper. The combination may have less visual impact for humans, but scanners love it.
Make sure that you use a laser or ink jet printer and a fresh ink cartridge to print your resume. Do not use a dot-matrix printer, as many scanners can’t read the copies printed with these machines. If you do not have access to a high-grade printer, use a commercial print shop to reproduce your resume. The right grade of paper is also important. Although formerly fashionable, resumes reproduced on parchment or other heavy grades of paper often cause scanners to choke. To get the best results, use copier (20 lb.) or offset printing (60 lb.) paper. In addition, always use a standard papersize of 8 1⁄2-x- 11 inches.
Finally, if your resume runs more than one page in length, use two separate sheets of paper rather than using both sides of the same page. Otherwise, the scanner has to be stopped, your resume retrieved, turned over and run again in order to get both pages of information into the system. That means extra work for the scanner operator, assuming that he or she even notices that your resume is printed on both front and back. The worst consequence, of course, is that only half of your resume is successfully scanned in.
While poor formatting and content create many of the problems associated with processing resumes through a resume management system, the way you send your resume to an employer can also undermine its effectiveness. Therefore, use the following guidelines when forwarding your document:
1. Always send your resume unfolded in a large envelope. The creases created when you fold a resume for a normal #10 business envelope can mar the clarity of the printed text.
2. Always paperclip the pages of your resume together. The HR department will separate all pages for scanning, and removing staples can damage your resume and affect its processing.
Transforming your resume into a computer-friendly layout enhances your effectiveness in the job market.
note: originally posted at Triond.com under the same author.