Career Services

Scannable and Electronic Resumes

Electronic Applicant Tracking is a new technology that can help you contact more employers for a greater number and variety of jobs. As employers seek new ways to manage the tremendous number of resumes submitted to them, they are turning to technology. Here is how it works. The resume you send an employer is first scanned into the computer as an image. The OCR (Optical Character Recognition) converts the image to a text file that is readable and searchable by a computer. It is important that you create the best resume for scanning purposes - that is, a "clean" resume that will produce the best possible image for scanning. A good scannable resume maximizes the computers ability to "read" your resume and your ability to get "hits" (a hit is when one of your skills/experiences matches a computer search). Below are a few guidelines for effectively writing this resume.


Use standard typefaces such as Helvetica or Courier (sans serifs - the little strokes at an angle to the vertical lines of a character) in 12-14 point sizes. Use Times or Palatino, 14 point, as a second choice. Avoid, italics, script, underlining, boldface and compressing space between letters. Vertical and horizontal lines may get confused with letters such as "L" or "I." Avoid using graphics, shading, and tables - the equipment that scans your resume is set to "text", not "graphics." Do not use parentheses or brackets around telephone numbers. Use a traditional chronological resume format that avoids complex layouts. Minimize the use of nonstandard abbreviations; most scanners will pick up BA, MS, PhD, etc. but may not read hard-to-recognize abbreviations (ie. L.E.A.D., R.A., etc.) unless it is industry specific.


Your name should be on it's own line above all other text. The computer will assume the first text it reads is your name. Do not place your name adjacent to your contact information or your name might become "Gary Morris 142 Campus Center." If you turn in a resume at a job fair, make sure the sponsors do not place a sticker with their name on it at the top of your resume - ask them to place it on the bottom or back. A keyword summary at the top of the page (after your contact information) may identify important skills and experiences.

*Use skill-focused nouns: Recruiters can access their resume database by searching for applicants with certain skills and experience. They will search for key words, usually nouns such as writer, manager and biologist as opposed to verbs such as managed, organized, engineered, etc. It is important to describe your experience with descriptive nouns rather than verbs or vague descriptions. The more facts and "key words" you include, the more "hits" your resume will receive and the better the chance of selection for further review.

*Maximize the use of industry jargon: It is logical to assume the recruiter's software will search for keywords specific to a certain field and position. Use terms that are the "buzzwords" of your profession.

Printing and Paper    

Always send a clear, original laser-printed resume for scanning purposes. Photocopies can sometimes add black marks or lighten up the text beyond optical recognition. Never use a nine-dot matrix printer. Use a light colored, standard size 8.5 X 11 paper, printed on one side only. Aim for the highest contrast between paper and ink. If you use more than one page, make sure your name appears at the top of each.

Packaging and Sending    

Faxes degrade the quality of the text - if you must fax, set the fax to "fine" mode. Avoid stapling the pages of a resume together - use a paper clip. Do not fold your resume - this can leave a crease through the text and confuse the scanner; send your resume in a large manila folder. If you are unsure whether an employer scans resumes, you could inquire ahead of time or send a standard and a scannable copy along with a note indicating the difference.



314 Scales Hall, SUNY Oswego

Oswego, NY  13126




        Counseling and teaching experience; organizational, counseling and group session skills;therapy aid, lesson plans, educator, researcher, writer, coordinator, problem solver, analytical.


        State University of New York - SUNY -  at Oswego, Oswego, NY

        B.A., Psychology, May 1997.  GPA: 3.3/4.0

        President's List 1993-1994


        Intern, Counseling Services Center, SUNY Oswego, August 1995 to present

        Counselor for individuals and group sessions

        Conductor of group educational programs on human development and mental health topics

        Trainer of other professionals and paraprofessionals

        Researcher of counseling and mental health delivery systems

        Teaching Assistant, Psych 100, SUNY Oswego, August 1994 to December 1994

        Coordinator of discussions around how behavior impacts on individuals in society

        Collaborator of current issues and topics with other teaching assistants

        Intern, Counseling Program, Fulton, NY, January 1993 to August 1993

        Counseled six clients per week

        Collaborated with supervisor once per week regarding client responsibilities


        Overseas Academic Program, London, England, January 1992 to May 1992

        Communicator of leadership skills while gaining self-esteem and self-confidence

        Certified Aerobics Instructor, Get-Fit Gym, Oswego, NY, January 1992 to April 1992

        Organizer of daily workout programs

        Motivator of participants


        President, Psychology Club, 1995 to present

        Member, Crew Team, 1994-1995

        Member, Tennis Team, 1993-1994


        PageMaker, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Claris Works, FileMaker Pro, WordPerfect,           World Wide Web -WWW, E-mail


        Available upon request at: Career Services, 142 Campus Center, SUNY Oswego,

        Oswego, NY  13126, 315-312-2255


Electronic resumes are similar to traditional resumes in that the purpose is the same - to get you the interview. They are also similar to scannable resumes - they are reduced to digital form for an employer to search. Traditionally, the resume focused on visual aesthetics - and content set off by action verbs - to grab a person's attention. The focus today is to grab a computer's attention. The best electronic resume is one that is scannable, searchable and uploadable. Since this handout already covers scannable resumes, we'll go over the other two criteria - searchable and uploadable.

Is Your Resume Searchable?   

Many companies are requesting that you submit your resume online, totally avoiding the ink and paper version. Your resume is directly uploaded to their computers which, in turn, format your resume to their standards and allow them to search the database. Again, you'll want to use certain keywords specific to your field and/or the position for which you are applying.

Is your Resume Uploadable?    

Once you have prepared your resume for scanning and/or electronic searches, you'll need to upload it to the organization or resume service's system. The two most common methods to upload resumes are "electronic forms" and "e-mail."

Electronic forms are typically found on an organization's web site. You will be asked to type certain information into blank text boxes and when completed, to click on a button to submit the information. Sometimes you are given extra space to type a cover letter or summary of qualifications. In order to utilize electronic forms, you must be using a browser that will support them, such as Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Internet Explorer, AOL, or Mosaic

E-mail is the most direct method. You can send your resume as a text-only message or as an attachment (which can include some formatting). Since there is a wide variety of email systems that people use for home and business, it is wise to reach the lowest common denominator between the sender and receiver. If you send your resume with certain formatting that the receiver can not read the result could be confusion - and no interview.

Reducing your resume to text-only version, or ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) is the safest way to go. The characters in your resume will be universally recognized with little room for confusion. Incidentally, electronic forms process information as ASCII text only. To create a good ASCII resume file, you will want to remove ALL formatting from your resume (italics, boldface, bullets, vertical and horizontal lines, etc.). Since ASCII usually appears in courier font in most systems, you may want to initially type your resume in courier. Start your resume with a flush left margin of zero, keeping your right margin at about 65 characters. You may want to "test" your resume by sending it to a friend or copying yourself to see how it actually looks. Be sure to check to see if the employer has specific instructions on how to submit your resume.

Online Services can be a valuable resource. They can post your resume online even if you do not have access to the Internet. They can suggest the best places to post your resume and prepare your resume as a HTML document to "showcase" on their web site. Beware of services that charge you to post your resume - there are plenty of quality service providers that will post your resume for free.

Where to Post?    

There are many places and many ways to post your resume on the Internet. Many companies on the Web have either an electronic form or an email address to forward your resume. A couple of the best general sites you may want to check out: CareerWeb ( &Job Hunt (


Jane Lake Effect

1221 West Seneca St.

Oswego, NY  13125



OBJECTIVE: To secure a position in the Public Relations field


Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies, May 1997

State University of New York at Oswego - SUNY

Concentration: Public Relations, Minor: Psychology

GPA in Major: 3.7/4.0, GPA Overall: 3.16/4.0


P.R. Intern, Career Services, SUNY at Oswego, 8-95 to present

Promoter of office events and programs

Presenter of office services to campus organizations and classes

Publisher of advertisements using PageMaker software

Public Affairs Intern, Nuclear; Power Plant, Lycoming, NY, 5-96 to 1-97

Interviewer, researcher and writer of weekly employee newsletter

Researcher of data on numerous projects

Coordinator of special meetings and events

P.R. Chairperson, Delta Zeta Sorority, SUNY Oswego, 9-95 to 2-96

Producer of advertisements for the Oswegonian - student newspaper

Liaison between events and chapter members

Promoted high level of chapter attendance at internal activities

President, P.R. Student Society of America, SUNY Oswego, 4-94 to 5-95

Organizer of publicity for meetings

Developer of monthly chapter newsletter

Conductor of bi-weekly meetings


Sales Associate, JC Penny, Inc., New Hartford, NY, 6-94 to 5-95

Desk Attendant, Johnson Hall, SUNY Oswego, 8-94 to 5-95


Quark Express, PageMaker, WordPerfect, WriteNow, Microsoft Word,

Claris Works, WWW, E-mail, Microsoft Excel, Ventura 


SUNY Empire Honors Scholarship Recipient

Dean's List

Member, Women in Communications, Inc.

Member, Oswego State Ski Club


Available upon request at: Career Services, 142 Campus Center, SUNY Oswego,

Oswego, NY  13126, 315-312-2255