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Is Your Online Resume User-Friendly?
By Tracy A. Bumpus, CPRW

Everywhere you turn online and in bookstores there are tips on how to write and format a scannable resume. The first task of a scannable format is to make your traditional resume content readable to computer search engines and database search devices. A second task is to make a traditional resume readable to OCR scanners. Unlike resume writing, there are some specific "rules" to scannable resume formatting. However, in our eagerness to make our resumes "computer-friendly" we have forgotten about making them "user-friendly".

Most resumes that are entered into an online database such as the Online Career Center ( or CareerMosaic ( are searched for candidates by executive recruiters. Recruiters work from job orders given to them by employers that contain a specific skill set, a specific educational set, and a salary range for that position. With this information in mind, recruiters perform keyword searches on the databases for possible candidates. 

The keyword search is often the only goal in mind when a scannable resume is written. Most people tend to forget that once the search engine has turned up a candidate's resume that meets the keyword requirements, that the resume is going to be surveyed by a real human being for additional information! Yes, a real person will be spending that crucial 30-45 seconds reading the resume before deciding to print it or move on to other candidates' resumes. The task of the resume, therefore, is the same as always--to pass that critical roundfile test.

1. Make sure your scannable resume is user-friendly so that when it is found in a huge online database, it will result in a call. Here are some tips:

2. Use an objective. I know, that is pretty much 180 degrees from my normal advice of NOT using an objective. However, in this case, a specific type of objective is called for. In your online resume objective state some things right up front such as career goal or considerations, willingness to relocate/travel and WHERE, a minimum salary level. If you have any specific requirements such as full-time or contract positions, say so here. If you are flexible on any of the points above say so! 

EXAMPLE: Will consider positions as Network Administrator or Network Analyst (NT) in the Southeast region of the US. Willing to travel 25% of time. Offers of salary range starting at ________ per year plus benefits will be considered. (state your absolute minimum, hopefully what you are making at the present) Salary is flexible in consideration of benefit package and opportunities for professional development. 

3. Put a date on your resume. Make it readable to the human eye. A few guidelines to formatting: 

  • Spread out your info so it isn't so crowded. 

  • Double space the whole thing.

  • Use skills categories and list items vertically, not horizontally.

  • Use all caps strategically by using them only where you would use bold on a traditional resume such as for headings, job titles, etc.

4. Include a telephone number and an email! If your resume is online, an email is imperative. Include a best time to call such as evenings or mornings, etc. 

5. If you are not willing to relocate, reconsider an online resume. Yes, you might get a local bite but you will for sure be getting a lot of unneeded hassle from recruiters calling you and emailing you from out of the area. At least target databases that are geographically specific to your area. 

6. Put your citizenship or visa status on your resume. The reality is that many companies will only consider US Citizens for positions. 

Tracy Bumpus, CPRW has established a reputation among professional resume writers and job search professionals as an industry expert in working with Information Technology, Computer, and Engineering clients. Ms. Bumpus has had articles published in local, state and national publications, including newspapers, magazines and professional career industry publications, and her work has been published in 6 national resume books. You can visit her web site at or contact her at 1-888-277-4270.

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