- The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service
Print your résumé on a high-quality, light-colored
paper (white, off-white, or very light gray). Never use papers
with a background (pictures, marble shades, or speckles).
The scanner tries to interpret the patterns and dots as letters.
This is a good rule to follow even for paper résumés
that will never be scanned. Often companies will photocopy
your résumé to hand to a hiring manager, and
dark colors or patterns will simply turn into dark masses
that make your résumé difficult to read. If
a company has multiple locations, the original résumé
may even get faxed from one site to another and the same thing
Avoid using photocopies of your résumé. Original
laser printed masters are best, although a high-quality inkjet
printer is acceptable. Do not use a dot matrix printer since
the letters sometimes touch each other or are not solid.
Print on only one side of the page and use standard-size,
8½ × 11 paper. The scanner cannot turn your page
over, so the reverse side might be missed when the clerk puts
your résumé into the automatic document feeder.
That same process is the reason why you should not use 11
× 17 size paper. The pages would have to be cut into
8½ × 11 sheets and the printing on the reverse
side would not get scanned.
Don't fold your résumé since the creases make
it harder to scan. It is much better to invest in flat, 9
× 12 envelopes and an extra two bits of postage to make
a good first impression. Laser print and copier toner tend
to crack off the page when creased, making the letters on
the fold line less than solid, which a scanner could easily
misinterpret. Staple holes can cause pages to stick together,
so never put a staple in a résumé you know will
Now that you know all the secrets for designing a résumé
that will pass the scannability test, let's look at some sample
résumés that scanned well.