You are probably aware of the important role a strongly written resume plays in a successful job search. But did you know that the way you format your resume might determine when — or even if — it is seen by a potential employer?
Many companies today prefer that a job applicant provide a "scannable" resume (also called a text resume). Employers will scan the resume into a database and use it to match job openings with qualified job seekers. Searches are done using keywords and phrases that describe the skills and education required for the position.
Because a computer will be looking for certain phrases and keywords, when writing a text resume it is important to use terms and jargon that are industry-specific to describe your skills and experience.
While the purpose of a scannable resume is the same, the design and format can be quite different from a traditional resume. A scannable resume contains the same information as a paper resume, listing your accomplishments, your education, and your work experience. You can use the same major headings as a traditional resume. Include a header with your name, address, and phone number; summary of qualifications (including your NDT certifications); job objective; work experience; education; and any specialized training.
But there are several differences in how you should format a scannable resume:
Use a standard type font, such as Courier, Times, Helvetica, Arial or Palatino. Avoid using fancy or decorative fonts.
Use a normal type size, usually in the range of 10 to 12 points.
The maximum number of characters per line is 65 (depending on type size).
Keep formatting simple. Use all caps for major headings, but stay away from bold type, italics or underlining.
Do not use graphics or shading.
Do not use bullets or lines.
Left justify text.
Use industry or job-specific keywords that employers might use to identify candidates for the job you are seeking.
It is important to include key phrases and nouns that could be used as search terms by your potential employer. Examples of phrases include "management experience," "successfully developed," and "Level III."
A separate "Certifications" section is a good idea when seeking an NDT position.
Use common abbreviations (such as BS for a Bachelor of Science degree) and maximize use of industry jargon (such as CWI for certified welding inspector).
If your resume is more than one page, place your name at the top of each additional page.
Print your resume on a high quality laser printer or inkjet.
Use only white paper in standard letter size (8 ½" x 11").
Always send original copies, never photocopies.
Try to mail or deliver your resume in a flat envelope or by fax. Do not staple multiple page resumes.
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