With the extensive use of the Internet as a tool for job seekers, it makes sense that employers would use this tool to recruit and screen applicants.  

Many organizations require applicants to submit electronic resumes or applications. A scannable e-resume is a necessity for any competitive job seeker.

The following guidelines have been created to assist in developing a scannable e-resume:

  • Remove formatting - bold, underline, italics, lines, graphics, special characters
  • Use font required - usually stated in the job announcement
  • Place name, address, phone, email each on a separate line
  • Utilization of keywords is critical
  • Avoid using columns


Whether you apply online or submit your resume as an email attachment, keywords are critical to the successful electronic search of your resume.  Many resume databases have a built-in search engine that is used to look for keywords associated with particular job openings.

There is no standard list of keywords; they will vary from one job opening to another, depending on what the job requires.  It is very important to use the same terminology in your application or resume that the employer uses in the job description.  If you are not using the same language, your resume may not be selected even if you are qualified.

Use the posting and/or look on the employer’s website to help you determine which keywords to use.  Print out the job announcement; highlight or underline the keywords in the duties and required qualifications sections.  Then compare these keywords to the terminology you are using on your application or resume.