Why You Need To Get A Scannable Resume

A scannable resume can be viewed by a computer using the latest document imaging technology (know as optical character recognition, or OCR), allowing employers to store resumes in databases and search through many applicants electronically. You will only use this when the online application forces you to copy/paste the information. First, highlight your resume and copy/paste onto a simple text document. Organize it some so it’s not too chopped up after the paste. Then you would open the text document, click Edit: Select All, and copy/paste into the online application! This helps with getting your resume past applicant tracking systems, which sometimes resumes can jumble your information depending on the company’s software. This scannable document helps avoid the jumble!

Some Editing Notes:


  • Note that it is acceptable to have a one-and-a-half to two page résumé.
  • Left justify the entire document.
  • Place your name at the top of the page on its own line.
  • Use standard address format below your name.
  • If you have more than one address, one should be placed on top of the other.
  • List each phone number on its own line.
  • Avoid vertical and horizontal lines, graphics, and boxes/tables.
  • Avoid using special characters such as bullets.
  • Avoid punctuation as much as possible. The computer might not recognize a word with a comma or period after it. If you must have punctuation, be sure it does not touch the word.


  • Use standard serif fonts such as Times New Roman, Courier, and Palatino or sans serif fonts such as Arial, Futura, and Univers.
  • Use a font size of 10 to 12 points.
  • Avoid fancy font styles such as italics, underline, and shadows.
  • Boldface and capital letters are acceptable as long as the letters do not touch each other.
  • Avoid condensing the space between letters because they may touch.
  • Provide white space between words. For example, separate the area code from a phone number with a space rather than parentheses: 555 123 – 4567 (also notice the space before and after the hyphen).

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