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ATS Resume

It takes a lot of skill to write the best resume for any given job posting. However, you also need to consider other factors outside the job description. This includes using readable fonts and easy-to-scan resume layouts. Let’s take a look into how to write an applicant tracking system (ATS)-friendly resume.

What Are Applicant Tracking Systems?

An ATS is a software program that tracks resume keywords to assess a candidate’s overall competencies. Oftentimes, resumes for a job application are first passed through an ATS before it ever lands in front of a hiring manager’s desk. Optimization is key to creating a great resume that can successfully pass through an ATS. Job seekers should take the time to read through the job description and adjust their resumes accordingly.

ATS Resume Example

Four Tips On Writing An ATS-Compliant Resume

An ATS is often the first obstacle in the hiring process. These systems are designed to pre-screen all potential candidates’ job applications, so you need to ensure your resume makes the cut and gets in front of real recruiters. Here are four pro tips on how to write a professional resume that passes ATS parameters.

Use relevant keywords

An ATS scan typically screens for specific keywords that are most relevant to the job posting. Study the job description closely to see what recruiters are looking for in an ideal candidate. By using the right keywords in your resume, you end up that much closer to landing your first interview.

Choose ATS-friendly resume templates

ATS software can be pretty particular about the templates you use for your professional resume. Sometimes, extravagant templates or oddly-worded section headers can throw off the system entirely and cause it to overlook your application, even when you have the right professional experience for the job.

Therefore, you need to find a template to follow that can pass through an ATS. A simple resume is often the best resume template to use, as they rely less on design and more on the content and formatting of the resume itself. It’s best to use standard fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri for these resumes.

To use ATS-compliant resume templates, use a resume builder tool to help you get started.

Write clear-cut resume sections

Divide and conquer isn't just a catchy slogan. No matter what type of resume you write, you need to be aware that they follow a specific format. The most common format is as follows:

  • Header with all your relevant contact information
  • Resume summary
  • Skills section
  • Work experience section
  • Education section

The header should contain the following contact information: your full name, current address, phone number, email address, and link to a portfolio or LinkedIn profile link.

The resume summary is a brief paragraph that goes over what you excel at and your years of experience. It gives most candidates the chance to discuss their skills in more detail.

The skills section should contain a good mix of hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are any technical skills related to the job at hand. For instance, a web designer should be familiar with different types of design, software, and other related equipment. Soft skills relate more to your overall personality and how you would fit into the company culture.

The work experience section should be the most extensive part of your resume. Organizing your work history in reverse-chronological order, most recent job first, is standard practice. You will also want to include job titles, company names, dates of employment, and a few bullet-point highlights for each job. Hiring managers will check to see if you have the right type of experience under your belt to prove your qualifications, so emphasize job responsibilities and achievements that tie in with what the job needs.

Finally, the education section should contain your degree, any academic awards or accolades, and any certifications you might have earned. Certifications in particular can make a candidate stand out.


Once you finish writing your resume, it’s always important to proofread to ensure all your resume content has correct spelling and grammar. ATS systems will also scan for any spelling or grammatical errors. Any resumes that have a substantial amount of errors will immediately be tossed out.

FAQs: ATS Resume

Abbreviations or acronyms of specific positions should be used sparingly. Unless the job posting itself uses these abbreviations, it is best to spell out the full name of a job title, award, certification, or any other relevant item in your resume.

The best file format to use for an ATS-friendly resume is PDF, or .docx (Microsoft Word document). Pay attention to whether the employer requests a specific file format or not. You can use our resume builder to create and save resumes in both these formats

Whether or not your cover letter is processed through an ATS depends on the nature of your job application. Oftentimes, online applications that include a cover letter option are run through an ATS. Sometimes hiring managers will read through the cover letter themselves. However, because you won’t know if this letter will be processed, it is a good idea to follow the same practices in your cover letter as you do in your resume, and include keywords that speak to the job’s specific requirements.