Scannable Documents Preparation

Preparing scannable documents such as a resume, CV or cover letter is easy. You can use your current resume and include the resume writing tips. However, once you understand what the computer searches for, you may decide to add a few keywords to increase your opportunities for matching job requirements or getting hits.

A keyword resume or an electronic resume are two names used for resumes specially designed for this purpose.

Recruiters and managers access the resume database in many ways, searching for your resume specifically or searching for applicants with specific experience. When searching for specific experience, they will search for key words or phrases, usually nouns such as engineer, BA, marketing, Society of ..., Spanish (language fluency), Los Angeles, etc.

So, make sure you describe your experience with concrete words rather then vague descriptions. The computer system will extract the key words from your sentences.

The most difficult resume for the computer to read is a poor quality copy that has an unusual format such as a newsletter layout, adjusted spacing, large font sizes, graphics, lines, type that is too light or paper that is too dark.

Maximizing “Scannability”


  • Place your name at the top of the page on its own line. Your name should also be the first text on pages two and others.
  • Use standard address format below your name.
  • In addition to your e-mail address, include your regular phone number (and fax number, which you should try to arrange to have)
  • List each phone number on its own line.
  • Left justify the entire document.
  • Use black standard typeface such as Serif, SansSerif, Aria, Helvetica, Futura, Optima, Universe, Times, Palatino, New Century, Verdana, Geneva or Courier.
  • Use a font size of 10 to 14 points. The best size would be 12 points because a human can easily read it too.
  • Use boldface and/or ALL CAPITAL LETTERS for emphasis and section headings as long as the letters do not touch each other.
  • For a resume/CV in a Plain Text format for emailing as a plain text or for submission on web sites:
    • Replace bullets with asterisks (*).
    • Use plus signs (+) at the beginning of lines or paragraphs.
    • Use dashes (-) instead of horizontal lines.


  • Avoid fancy treatments such as bullet points, tables, tabs and hard returns.
  • Italics, underline, especially if combined, shading, outline and reverses (white letters on black background) cause problems for the scanner.
  • Avoid fonts where characters touch.
  • Avoid vertical and horizontal lines. When used, leave at least a quarter of an inch of space around the line.
  • Avoid two-column formats that look like newspapers or newsletters.
  • Do not use images or graphics and boxes.
  • Do not condense or expand the spacing between letters.
  • Do not double space within sections.

art_tip Scannable DocumentsCheck the spelling and grammar of your scannable documents. Use the word processor's spell and grammar checker. If you are not confident of your ability to detect grammatical, punctuation and English or other language usage errors or if you need help in organizing your document, CV or resume send it to a professional for assistance.

Remember that your resume or CV must be targeted, scannable and generate hits.

art_tip Scannable DocumentsIf you have a difficulty with your scannable documents, instead of staring at a blank piece of paper, use:

for CVs:

for resumes:

art_tip Scannable DocumentsWe strongly recommend that you email your job applications, resumes and CVs together with cover letters. If you have a difficulty with your cover letter writing use:

Other Scannable Documents Info

Now to finalize your Scannable Documents topic, if your cover letter and CV or resume are ready, you may email them through international job search engines to job recruiters and headhunters worldwide.

Start preparing for job interviews and check the job interview tips do's and don'ts. Also, find out why people are not hired for available jobs.

In addition, on job search, visas, work permits, cover letters, CV / resume, job interview and dress codes pages, you will find very useful tips for many different countries.

Good luck with your scannable documents!


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