The Scanner-friendly Risumi
(Article No.2 11/11/98 - Job Surf series)

By James Lap

In hi-tech environment, image scanner is now a state-of-the-art computer system to increase efficiency in storing and retrieving risumi information. Many compa nies are using artificial intelligence capabilities to scan risumis optically in to the computer system as an image. The computer then reads each risumi and cre ates a database of the applicant's relevant skills, degrees and achievements in the form of key words. Companies now can access a candidate's risumi by searchi ng for keywords. So, at the center of the technology are keywords.

A sample job order might require:

* Five years' experience
* Graduate degree
* Heavy traveler
* Self-starter
* Team leader

Supplied with these specifications, a computer checks database for risumis that include these keywords. The secret is to fill your risumi with as many keywords as possible. The ultimate keywords come from each company for each position. You can only ma ke reasonable assumptions about what a specific company will ask for. You need to maintain a log of keywords that apply to your occupation and industry. Jot d own the words as you come across them in trade magazines, newspaper ads, especia lly the company's own ads or postings.

1. Polishing Your Keywords Skills

Looking up information in the Yellow Pages or a library file uses the same skill necessary to write good keywords. Choose nouns that indicate your accomplishme nts rather than verbs that focus on duties.

Even a risumi with very strong content, one which includes all of the keywords t hat describe your occupational credentials, can be overlooked. Consequently, th e keywords in an electronic risumi is organized into two sections. The first is a Keywords Preface; the second is the main body of the risumi. The Keyword Preface or Summary appears directly beneath your name and contact in formation at the top of your risumi. It is an inventory of your most important assets. It runs about 20 to 30 items and each item is capitalized and ends with a period. Cover three points in selecting your items:

* Your skills, abilities and competencies;
* Your experience using those skills, abilities and competencies; and
* Your accomplishments in using those skills, abilities and competencies on-the- job.

2. To maximize potential employment opportunities, it is important for you to pr epare to submit an effective scanner-friendly risumi. Rewrite your risumi by us ing the following guidelines for format and content.

* Keep it simple.
* Standard serif and sans serif fonts like Helvetica work best.
* Use sizes between 10 and 14 points type size.
* Avoid Italics, script and underlining since they cause problems for the scanne rs, especially when they are combined.
* Use boldface or ALL CAPITAL LETTERS for emphasis.
* Use horizontal and vertical lines sparingly and allow 1/4" of space around the m.
* Avoid graphics and shading or shadowing.
* Do not compress or expand space between letters or lines.
* Do not double space with sections.
* Submit the original risumi.
* It should be printed with a 24-pin letter-quality or laser printer.
* Print on one side only and on white or light colored 8 1/2" x 11" paper.
* Do not staple or fold it since it will not be scanned well.
* Remember to describe your skills and accomplishments in keywords.

3. Use nouns instead of action verbs

Nouns are easier to be distinguished by a computer than action verbs. Always la bel yourself with phrases that describe activities or experiences. Focus on acco mplishments and results rather than on duties and responsibilities. For instance, use "managed training and development" instead of "trained and dev eloped."

4. Sample of a scanner-friendly risumi



Mathematics management position using mathematical computation skills In a start up high technology firm.


Columbia University, New York City, 1984
MS in Computer Software Engineering

New York University, New York City, 1982
BA in Computer Science
GPA: 3.6


Basic, Fortran, Pascal computer languages.
WordPerfect 6.0, Lotus 1-2-3, dBase III+. C++.


Financial Analyst, January 1986-Present
XYZ Company, New York City
Prepare financial reports for all gross income.

Math Tutor: 1982-1984
Math and Computer Lab, Columbia University, New York City.
Instructed students in Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Statistics, Calculus.

Assisted instructors with class projects and assisted students in computer lab a ssignments.
WordPerfect, VP-Planner, Lotus 1-2-3, dBase III+, Basic Computer Programming.


Member, National Honor Society.
Member, Asian American Higher Education Council.

==> Here are the keywords that were scanned from the above risumi:

Mathematics. Management. Mathematical Computation. Probability. Statistics. Nume rical Analysis. Computer Programming. Financial Reports. Financial Analyst. Alge bra. Geometry. Trigonometry. Calculus. WordPerfect. Basic. Lotus 1-2-3. Fortran. Pascal. C++. National Honor Society. Asian American Higher Education Council. D Base III+. MS. Columbia. BA. New York University. 3.6 GPA.

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