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How to create an ATS Resume

Creating an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) resume is essential in today’s job market and can be daunting, but with a few simple pieces of advice it can get a lot easier.

Creating an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) resume is essential in today’s job market and can be daunting, but with a few simple pieces of advice it can get a lot easier. The ATS is a technology used by employers to quickly and accurately scan resumes for key words and phrases relevant to the desired role. To create an ATS-friendly resume, one must consider certain best practices that will maximize your chances of being selected.

To start, one should use a basic word processing program, such as MS Word and exclude the use of complex formatting, such as heading columns and tab stops. These can create confusion for ATS systems and lead to missing information. In addition, one should save the document in either a PDF or DOC(X) file. These are the two most commonly recognized file formats that ATSs are designed to parse efficiently.

When writing, one should use standard headings that reflect the job they’re applying for. This means avoiding out-of-the-ordinary phrasing, such as “Previous Experience” or “My Qualifications”. Instead, one should choose more generic, precise words like “Employment History” or “Skills and Qualifications”. Additionally, include keywords related to the job in your resume, such as programming language, job titles, and soft skills.

It is also important to include details about your past experience, such as start and end dates for jobs, degrees earned, GPA’s, and certifications. Also, adding measurable accomplishments from past experiences will make you stand out from the crowd and further increase your chances of selection. Consider using bullet points to make your resume easier to read and summarize your industry experience quickly.

When saving your document, use a clear naming convention such as “[your name] ATS Friendly Resume”. This way, the ATS system can differentiate your document with ease and employers will find it easier to identify the right file. Finally, make sure to double-check the file before sending it off to confirm accuracy in the document and double-check for spelling and grammar mistakes.

An ATS (Applicant Tracking System) ready CV is a resume that is optimized to pass through ATS software efficiently. ATS is used by many companies to screen and filter resumes before they are reviewed by human recruiters. To ensure your CV is ATS-friendly, follow these tips and use the example below as a guide:

  1. Use Standard Fonts: Stick to common, easily readable fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri. Avoid fancy or decorative fonts that may not be recognized by the ATS.
  2. Simple Formatting: Keep your CV format straightforward and avoid using complex tables, graphs, or images. Use standard section headers like “Work Experience,” “Education,” etc.
  3. No Headers/Footers: ATS may have difficulty reading content in headers and footers, so avoid using them.
  4. Keywords: Tailor your CV to include relevant keywords from the job description. ATS scans for specific keywords to identify qualified candidates.
  5. Avoid Graphics and Charts: ATS may not be able to interpret graphics and charts, so it’s best to avoid using them in your CV.
  6. Spell Out Acronyms: While you may know what certain acronyms stand for, ATS may not recognize them. Spell out acronyms to ensure clarity.
  7. Use Standard Section Titles: Stick to conventional section titles like “Work Experience,” “Education,” “Skills,” etc.

Here’s a basic example of an ATS-ready CV:

John Doe
Email: | Phone: (555) 555-5555 | LinkedIn:

Results-driven marketing professional with 5 years of experience seeking a Senior Marketing Manager position at XYZ Company. Adept at developing and implementing strategic marketing campaigns to drive brand awareness and revenue growth.

Work Experience:
Marketing Manager | ABC Corp | May 2018 – Present

  • Led a team of 5 marketing specialists in executing successful digital marketing campaigns.
  • Increased website traffic by 30% through SEO optimization and content marketing strategies.
  • Collaborated with sales team to generate leads and achieve a 20% increase in sales revenue.

Digital Marketing Specialist | XYZ Agency | Jan 2016 – Apr 2018

  • Managed social media accounts and grew followers by 40% within 6 months.
  • Implemented email marketing campaigns resulting in a 25% increase in lead generation.
  • Analyzed website analytics to optimize user experience and increase conversions.

Bachelor of Business Administration (Marketing) | University of XYZ | Graduated May 2015


  • Digital Marketing
  • Social Media Management
  • SEO and SEM
  • Email Marketing
  • Content Creation
  • Data Analysis
  • Project Management
  • Team Leadership


  • Google Ads Certification
  • HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification

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By following these simple steps, one can easily create an ATS-friendly resume that stands out to employers. While the task of creating an effective resume may seem daunting at first, taking the time to understand what employers are looking for, and following the best practices outlined here, can be the difference between success and failure.

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