- The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service
Rely on white space to define sections. Scanners like white
space. They use it to determine when one section has ended
and the next has begun. Horizontal lines can also be used
to define sections since they are usually ignored by more
sophisticated scanning software, provided they do not touch
any of the letters on the page. However, avoid the use of
short, vertical lines since scanners try to interpret these
Don't use columns (like a newspaper) on your résumé. Scanners
read from left to right and often have difficulty determining
how to relate text to headings when the columns are the same
width or when there are more than two columns. Although the
keywords will be intact, your résumé may end up looking like
garbage in the ASCII text version created during the OCR process.
Using a narrow column of headings on the left followed by
the text on the right doesn't seem to cause the same problem,
Dot leaders (like this . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . .) can cause major headaches for the scanner,
so avoid them.
One nice thing about electronic résumés is that they don't
have to be limited to one page. The more keywords and synonyms
you are able to use, the better your chances of being selected
in a keyword search. Therefore, it is better to have a two-page
résumé with all of your skills and qualifications listed than
to have a one-page résumé with information missing because
you tried to conserve space. The general rule for an electronic
résumé today is:
New graduates--one page
Most people--one or two pages
Senior executives--two or three pages
One caution, however. The reader may decide to stop reading
after the first page if something doesn't entice him or her
to read on. Therefore, you should make certain that the meat
of your résumé is on the first half of the first page.
Remember to keep your sentences powerful and interesting
to read. Cyberspace doesn't negate the need for good writing.
You still want a human being to read your résumé sooner or