University of Minnesota Morris

The Electronic Resumé

How does electronic applicant tracking work?

Your printed resume is scanned into a computer as an image. A text file is then created and the computer is able to read the text and identify important information such as your name, address, phone number, work history, education, skills, honors, and activities. Employers can then search for qualified candidates by conducting keyword searches rather than filing through a stack of resumes by hand.

Maximizing Scannability

To enable the computer to read your resume it must be scannable, i.e. the printed words on your resume must be easily recognizable. Optimal Character Recognition (OCR) software is used to distinguish each typed character on your resume. In order to get the best results, you want to start with a clean, clear image. The following tips will allow you to produce a resume that will be easily scannable and increase your chances of getting noticed:

Can I use my current resume?

Using your current resume is appropriate, however it is important to know that the computer will extract information from your resume based on the keywords and phrases selected by employers. Your goal is to create a resume that will generate numerous matches or “hits” with employer’s specific searches. Therefore, you may want to make some changes to your current resume in order to increase the number of possible “hits”.

Employers typically search for candidates possessing specific experience and skills. To do so they will search for keywords and phrases (usually nouns) which describe one's qualifications. Some examples of keywords include writer, teacher, BS, UNIX, Microsoft Word, GPA, honor society, Advertising Federation, management , and leadership.

Tips to Maximize Hits

Information for this article was compiled from the following resources:

by Jewels Horvath