What are two pros and two cons for a plain text resume or for a scannable resume?

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scannable resumes were the transition phase between traditional hard-copy resumes and the emergence of electronic capabilities. The pros included the capability the prospective employer had of converting a paper resume to an electronic resume by using scanning technologies. Another pro was that, once a collection of paper resumes had been converted to electronic form, the potential employer could search one or all electronically to find information that was important to job fulfillment. Another pro was the convenience of having an often large collection of paper resumes reduced to a hidden stash of electronic resumes (with search capability). Two cons were that (1) paper resumes still had to be handled and (2) staff and staffing hours had to be allotted for the process of converting paper to electronic data base through scanning.

Plain text resumes have almost completely replaced scannable paper resumes because of two important pros to plain text resumes. The first pro is that technology has advanced to the point that most employers now incorporate easy-to-use resume uploading technology on their websites. The second pro is that electronic resumes provide much greater convenience for applicant and recipient, whether they are uploaded through technology incorporated into the website or added as copy-paste documents in an email to the potential employer. A major pro to plain text is that plain text does not transmit computer viruses. One con is that plain text resumes reduce all resumes to equal visual status, rendering useless the old theory that uniqueness and "stand out" quality are resume necessities. A related con is that plain text doesn't lend itself to special visual emphasis on items the writer wants to call attention to, so selecting an information format that locates areas of strength and accomplishment at the top of the resume is critical. 

obrienk4 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many different types and formats of resumes, and depending on a person's profession and the type of job they are applying for, different resumes might be required or preferred. However, in general, there are both pros and cons to a plain text or scannable resume.

One advantage of a plain text resume is that it can easily be copy and pasted anywhere. Many jobs ask that you apply directly on their site, and many want your resume to simply be pasted into a text box, which makes a plain text resume ideal; you won't need to make any changes, and there will be no changes automatically made to your formatting. If you have a formatted resume, however, and try to paste it in to a text box, the formatting could change and look unprofessional.

Another advantage is that plain text resumes are very easy to read. Everything is very clear and the person reviewing the resume will not feel overwhelmed or burdened by a formatted or fancier resume.

One disadvantage of a plain text resume is that it will be less unique and might not stand out s much as a personal, formatted resume. It will be the same font and color as all the other plain text resumes, which could make it harder to stand out or impress an employer. 

A second disadvantage is that in a plain text resume it might be more difficult to highlight certain aspects of a resume that one could normally do by using bold or italics or underlining or changing of fonts and font sizes. In a plain text resume, it all has to be the same. 

In general, one should think about the audience and mode of application in order to determine the best type of resume.



alexb2 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Two Pros:

Plain text is very easy to read and removes formatting which could be distracting.

It can be scanned into a computer if delivered printed out. 

Two Cons: 

The style might be too boring and not as readable. 

If the resume references published works, and they are not italicized, it's not as professional.