Scannable resumes -- also a printed, hardcopy format -- are designed primarily for accurate scanning into a computer. Captured as an image, scannable resumes are fed through OCR (optical character recognition) software that reads and extracts the text. The extracted text is databased for storage and later recalled by keyword from an applicant tracking system. Scannable resumes are very rarely requested any more. If you are asked for a scannable resume, the most efficient option is to email the requestor your plain ASCII text resume (described next).
Fix My Resume, Lets set this straight now--there is no simple fix. The screening process counts on the fact that so many resumes dont make the mark. Writing a resume is tough. Thats all there is to it. Most people do not like to write. Most people do not like sales. A resume is both - it is a written sales pitch. Ouch! Double whammy.
The phrase "keyword resume," as it was first used, referred most often to either a scannable or text resume that incorporated a focus on nouns and phrases that employers were likely to use when searching for an applicant. Sometimes the keyword resume had a section at the beginning or end that listed the keywords separated by commas or periods. Today, there is no need to maintain both a keyword and a non-keyword resume. Keywords have become such an essential element in resumes that you should ensure that every version of your resume, whether meant for the human or the computer reader, incorporates the keywords most important in your field or industry.
How do you use these file formats and transit them to recipients via email? My recommendation is to actually attach the MS Word or Adobe PDF file to the email in its native file format. Then, ALSO copy and paste the text of your ASCII text resume into the body of your email (where you would normally type a message), along with a letter of introduction or other note explaining why you are sending the resume.
To beat the 10-second resume rule, your resume must be able to quickly convince a reviewer, whether computer or human, in only a few seconds that you meet the position requirements and have the experience they need and are, in fact, the candidate they need to hire. Simple, right?
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