This might be a simple worry, but I am curious about other peoples experiences. I am applying to my first real-world job (not in academia anymore) and I am worried my resume will get screened because it is not getting scanned properly on company websites before it even reaches HR.

I want my resume to stand out - so I used a lovely customized LATEX template (exported to PDF). It looks great, very clean and prints well. I can fit all of my information on without it looking bad etc. However, I noticed after a few applications that one company had an automatic resume information extractor to put my information into their system. With my resume it failed drastically.

Therefore, I got wondering if my resume (on any other companies systems) is getting searched for keywords/ pre-screened but failing due to my formatting.

Thanks for any insights - even though this might be super paranoid.

  • 2
    In my country and industry 99% of recruiters request your CV be in Microsoft Word format. Remember that nobody actually prints them except to hurredly drag them into your interview. But as @mhoran_psprep states in his answer, don't overthink it :)
    – Jane S
    Jul 3, 2015 at 3:48
  • The world doesn't end with the automatic resume extractor. Every resume extractor that I have uploaded my resume to allowed me to edit the information which was automatically extracted. If the resume extractor software assumed that it was perfect and there was no need to override it, it would be one lame software!
    – Masked Man
    Jul 3, 2015 at 5:56
  • Do you think people hire you based on the "lovely" formatting of your resume? Jul 3, 2015 at 15:37
  • 2
    I keep telling folks: unless you are interviewing for a graphic arts related position, kiip it simple and spend your timeimproving the content. Plaintext works everywhere.
    – keshlam
    Jul 3, 2015 at 16:18

2 Answers 2


Almost all the places I have applied in the last 10 years have required the applicant to enter the information on the resume into little text boxes on the website. They did have an ingest tool try and pull the data, but in all cases I had to adjust the information because their ability to take unstructured text and make sense of it was limited.

The key word scan is trying to match words or phrases to a list of phrases they have specified a important. The more you match the more likely you are to have your info read by a person.

In general the formatting has no impact on the key word search as long as the system can read the document. For many positions a resume that looks great and prints clean will not influence the chance of getting a job because HR will read what is entered into the text boxes, and the first time many interviewers will see the resume in its clean printing format is when you hand it to them at the interview.

Don't over think this.


A couple years ago, Mashable put out a post on how to format your resume to pass the robot. I still use that as a template for when I submit to these sites that I feel will automatically screen my resume -- and provide them a much nicer formatted resume if I know it'll be sent directly to a human.

Here's the link to the mashable guide: http://mashable.com/2013/11/11/resume-robots/

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .