Skimming and scanning

Hayden and Sammie are looking for volunteers with nursing experience, and they have a pile of applications to get through. They need to speed things up. See how they are saving time when reading job applications…

Hayden smiling.Sammie smiling.

The organisers of the Salty Creek Community Festival, Hayden and Sammie, are reading through the cover letters and resumés they’ve received for the two volunteer nursing roles supporting James, the festival’s on-site GP, at the first aid tent. 


Unlike many recruiters, Hayden and Sammie are not using any applicant tracking system. Sammie is going through the applications one by one. But that’s taking too long, so Hayden suggests using the skimming skills they’ve learnt at university.

Skimming is a way of reading something very quickly to grasp the main points and get a general idea of the content. While skimming, the reader runs their eyes over the material trying to read as much as they can, as quickly as possible.

Help Hayden and Sammie skim a cover letter. Use the stopwatch to see how quickly you can grasp the main points. Once you’ve read through the cover letter, select the option that best summarises what was covered.

Cover letter

John Walker

Phone: 03 9602 1038



Dear Festival Organisers,

I am writing in response to the volunteer nursing role advertised on your website. I’m a final year nursing student at Highland University, and I’m looking for the opportunity to gain more practical experience. I would love the chance to be a part of the Salty Creek Community Festival.

I have experience working as a volunteer at the Salty Shire Medical Centre. Within that role, I was responsible for providing beneficial assistance and support to patients, and maintaining confidential patient records. My former supervisors have commented on my excellent teamworking, multi-tasking and communication skills.

I was drawn to this opportunity as I believe it will give me the chance to put my nursing skills into practice. I have full availability and am happy to attend training sessions.

Thank you for taking the time to read my application. I look forward to hearing from you.


Kind regards,

John Walker

Skimming quiz transcript


To screen the applications more quickly, Hayden and Sammie have put together a list of specific things they are looking for in the resumés. They are using their scanning skills to speed things up.

Scanning is reading rapidly and selectively to find important and specific keywords, names, and numbers. When scanning, the reader knows what they are looking for and therefore skips unrelated information.

Test your scanning skills by quickly looking through one of the resumés and selecting the information you can find from the list. Use the stopwatch to time yourself!


John Walker 

Phone: 03 9602 1038



Bachelor of Nursing | Highland University

March 2021 – November 2024

Secondary School Certificate | Salty Creek High School

2013 – 2019



Nurse Volunteer | Salty Shire Medical Centre

February 2022 – May 2022


  1. Checked patients’ blood pressure and vital signs.
  2. Obtained medical history from patients.
  3. Escorted patients to examination rooms.
  4. Administered medications to patients as per physician’s orders.
  5. Performed lab tests including urine dipsticks and finger-prick glucose tests.
  6. Maintained patient care documentation.



  • Sound knowledge of common illnesses, diseases, and injuries.
  • Sound knowledge of medical tools and techniques.
  • Familiarity with child and adult health developments.
  • Strong knowledge of nursing methods, technology and procedures.
  • Ability to work with patients of different ages.
  • Able to communicate effectively among coworkers and patients, both verbally and in writing.
  • Strong ability to think critically and problem solve under pressure.


Referees are available on request.

Skimming and scanning skills are useful not only for work or study purposes, but also for daily activities such as looking over news headlines to find out the latest events, or running your eyes over the ingredients written on a cereal box to make sure it doesn’t contain anything you’re allergic to.

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