Why You Need Three Résumés

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: April 8, 2004 - 11:00 PM

Would you go golfing with only one club? Of course not.

You need a driver to get off the tee, an iron for the fairway, a putter, etc. In short, one club won't work in all situations.

It's the same with your job search.

To compete in today's high-tech job market, you need more than one "club," in this case, a résumé.

In fact, you need no fewer than three versions of your résumé: one for humans, a second for computer scanners and a third for use on the Internet.

Read on to discover why you need three different résumés and how to create them ...

1. Traditional Format - For Humans

This is the version you're most familiar with.

It's the one- or two-page résumé you print on nice stationery (ivory is my suggested color) and either hand-deliver or mail to hiring managers. It should appeal to the eye and be easy to read.

But, to be safe, you also need a ...

2. Scannable Format - For Computers

Since there aren't enough hours in the day for humans to read them all, most larger companies use optical character recognition (OCR) software to scan résumés into computerized databases. Once scanned, hiring managers can search thousands of résumés with a few mouse clicks, to match applicants with jobs.

Trouble is, your traditional résumé may not scan clearly. The underlining, fancy fonts and other word processing tricks can befuddle the computer. Because computers are dumb.

So, create a scannable résumé.

First, change the typeface on your traditional résumé to a sans serif font, such as Arial, for more accurate reading by the scanner. (Serif fonts, such as Times Roman, are harder to scan.) Use one font size throughout -- I recommend 10 or 11-point type.

Next, eliminate all underlining, bolding, bullet points, italics, etc., to make your résumé easy to scan.

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