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Electronic Résumés

In today’s job market, many employers use electronic systems, known as applicant tracking systems (ATS) to review and screen résumés.

ATS software comes under many brand names and is used by companies to electronically track job candidates, review résumés and begin their selection process. Generally, when you are applying online and submitting your résumé electronically it is going through an applicant tracking system. And the software will do the initial screening, not a person. That is why a clean and neat résumé is so important. 

In addition, be clear about your skills. The system will be using a keyword type of search to review your résumé for specific qualifications. For instance, if an employer is looking for Microsoft Excel and you only use the words Microsoft Office, then your résumé would not be included if they do a keyword search on Excel.

Electronic Résumé Tips

Document Type



Not recommended:

Open Office

Never scan your résumé and send it as an image

Test your document by converting it into plain text (.txt) to be sure that it stays formatted correctly

Always opt for uploading your document if that is an option (rather than copying and pasting it)


Make sure this information is first, at the top of the page

First Middle Last

You can bold it

Do not use any special characters or any extra spacing between letters

Do not include your title or skills with your name

Date Format

Date format should include a two-digit month and four-digit year (MM/YYYY) or the month as a word with a four-digit year format (September 2015)

Do not use: 09/15, September ’15

Use the same format throughout the whole document

Body of Document - Format

Limit your résumé to one page

Keep it clear and easy to read; include plenty of white space

No headers, footers, or page numbers

Use generic font and font size (Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman, 10-14 pt.)

Use one font style throughout the résumé

No pictures, graphics or templates in body

Avoid differentiators (colors, special formatting)

Avoid using tables, it can become jumbled

Body of Document - Content

Stick to standard headings (Education, Work Experience, Computer Skills, etc.)

When writing your experience and listing the jobs you have held, use the following order: Your position, date worked, company name, then job description or skills

Use bulleted statements that highlight quantitative accomplishments and leadership skills
    Use standard symbols for bullets, not fancy ones

Type the full company name out and use proper abbreviation (Inc. or Co.)

Do not include the company’s full address, only use the city and state

Do not abbreviate any titles you have held (ex. Use Manager not Mgr.)

Tailor each résumé to that specific job posting
          Use key phrases and keywords that were in the job description
          Include buzzwords, industry keywords and company jargon
          List computer software, technical skills, languages, etc. that are relevant to the position

Do not include irrelevant information or experiences

Research the company and incorporate their values into your résumé and cover letter

Do not state everything you ever accomplished, leave out hobbies and classes

Do not include an objective unless extremely specific and compelling

Do not include any references unless they are requested specifically

Be sure there are absolutely no spelling errors

Automatic Responses

Once you have completed your online application or submitted your résumé electronically, you should receive a quick and automatic response indicating your applicaiton was received

Check your junk mail as an automatic email from the Applicant Tracking System might go there