Marina Hickman. Resume. September 09th , 2017.
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).
Use Bullet Points - When it comes time to explain your experiences in your resume, use bullet points to outline your accomplishments. It is much easier to read and even easier to skim, which is what hiring managers are doing most of the time anyways. Bullet points draw attention to important information. They are also visually appealing and make the information seem more accessible to the reader. So keep them short and meaningful. Some people opt for a short paragraph explaining their duties and responsibilities, followed by bullet points highlighting their most notable achievements. This too is acceptable, just make sure to keep that paragraph very succinct and avoid any redundancies as well.
By far, you'll find that the most requested format for your traditional resume is MS Word. If you comply with the request, be aware that your formatting may be incompatible with the recipient's system. While usually still readable, fonts and bullet sizes and styles may be different from what you intended. These problems can be minimized, although not always eliminated, by embedding the fonts into the document. This is a simple process, and the MS Word help files will guide you through it. You should also take care, while writing and designing your resume, to use design elements that are default and standard on most systems. For example, it is not wise to use a fancy, custom font on your resume that you know will be emailed. Default fonts such as Garamond, Helvetica, Book Antiqua, or Verdana are better choices.
Professional certifications from major vendors and professional associations typically carry the most weight and are well worth the investment of time and cost. They are definitely good things to have and can often give you an edge over other similar candidates being considered. In the computer programming area, certifications from Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and the like are definitely in demand. Highly sought after certifications from professional associations include A+, Network+, and Security + from Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA); Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) from International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)²; and Project Management Professional (PMP) from Project Management Institute.
Resume writing is so challenging for this reason. It is the hardest form of persuasive writing. Why? Because there are few topics more difficult for most people to write about than themselves. That's why many people find better success in bringing in a professional resume writer to help out.
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