An electronic resume, also called a scannable resume, is a plain text (ASCII) or HTML document, often submitted with an employment application, that uses keywords to provide an employer with information regarding a job candidate's professional experience, education, and job qualifications. An old-fashioned paper resume is written for quick visual skimming by human eyes. An electronic resume is written to be searched by a computer.
Many employers process all their incoming resumes electronically by using an automated applicant tracking systems (ATS) or subscribing to a resume scanning service. Resumes are scanned as images and optical character recognition (OCR)software is used to read the text. Much, or all of the text, is then entered into a relational database. When an employer is ready to hire someone, the employer can use data mining techniques to search through the database for possible candidates. Typically, the employer specifies the qualifications needed for a particular position by selecting relevant keywords. Resumes that match a specified score for the relevant keywords are then selected and printed.
Since computers read resumes differently than people do, recruiters recommend that job hunters should prepare two versions of their resume, one for scanning and one for human readers. On an electronic resume, keywords can be stated in a separate keyword section, or they can be integrated into the text. In general, action verbs like "managed" or "facilitated", which are recommended for use in old-fashioned paper resumes, are not effective in electronic resumes because most ATS keywords are nouns.