To sort through and store numbers of résumés, many employers use optical character recognition (OCR) technology, which searches for keywords. These words are nouns, and sometimes adjectives that describe specific skills. While some are general, like “leadership,” “communication,” or “entrepreneurial,” most are specific to particular occupations, industries, and positions. For example, a list of keywords for a position as a social worker might contain “clinical experience,” “family services,” “crisis intervention,” and “LCSW.” For an accountant, the list could include terms like “CPA,” “G/L experience,” “public accounting,” and names of specific accounting computer programs. Keywords should be incorporated throughout the résumé. A keyword summary may also be placed at the end of the résumé.
- Do keywords define education, experience, and skills?
- Has the writer effectively turned verbs into nouns when appropriate—for example, “designing” into “design specialist” or “coordinating” into “project coordinator”?
- Has the writer used common abbreviations, acronyms, and jargon specific to the field, like “BA” for “bachelor of arts,” or “CAD” for “computer-assisted design”?
- Is the résumé left-justified on standard 81 ⁄2” by 11” paper?
- Is the font a standard typeface? Is the size 10 or 12 points?
- Has punctuation been avoided as much as possible?
- Is there white space between words and letters (letters must not touch one another)?
- Has the writer avoided using italics, underlining, and special characters like bullets?
- Has the writer avoided using graphics, shading, boxes, and horizontal and vertical lines?