How to write an ATS-friendly resume


Lan Nguyen

Marketing Executive

In this article...

    How to write an ATS-friendly resume 

    Organizations employ software called an application tracking system (ATS) to control the hiring process. The ATS scans your resume when you submit an application online and pulls data from it, including skills, job titles, and educational history. You must understand how ATS functions in order to make your resume ATS-compliant and improve your chances of passing an ATS scan.  

    In this post, we'll explain what an applicant tracking system (ATS) is, how to format your resume to comply with it, and how to write resume content that will help you pass an ATS scan. 

    What is an ATS? 

    The Applicant Tracking System is a computer software program that manages the hiring process for organizations, especially larger enterprises. With the Applicant Tracking System (in short is ATS), enterprises can now easily manage their hiring process with far less time and effort. 

    ATS’s main job is to collect and short thousands of applications in a matter of minutes. Its output is an organized, shortened list of applicants that meet specific qualities, ranked from the most relevant to the least relevant. HR can now follow the shortened list provided by ATS and move the best-ranked candidates further in the hiring process.  

    Why do I need to write an ATS-friendly resume? 

    Many companies now associate keyword-tracking tools with the first round of their application scanning process. This tool will only search and mark resumes with a specific number of keywords, resumes that don’t include these keywords will be automatically eliminated without any re-consideration of the company’s HR. 

    Have you ever been in a situation where you are completely qualified for the job but haven’t received any phone calls or emails from the company? There's a high chance that your resume has been discarded by ATS. And here’s how you can create a CV or resume that passes the Applicant Tracking System.  

    How to write an ATS-friendly resume?  

    1. Use an ATS-friendly template  

    ATS prefers simple formats over fancy ones. Reverse chronological is the simplest format for an ATS to read. By placing your work experience at the front of the page, this approach highlights it.   

    Using basic designs compatible with applicant tracking system procedures in ATS-friendly resume templates ensures accurate information extraction. Certain templates are pre-prepared with ATS in mind to detect and appropriately sort information and use minimally formatted sections. 

    1. Label your sections right   

    Make sure your sections include titles like "Professional Experience," "Education," and "Skills" and that the labels are clear and accurate. In order to find important requirements like years of experience, degrees, certificates, and keywords, ATS will also search for these components. 

    1. Avoid headers, columns, tables, and graphics  

    When content is put in tables, columns, headers, footers, photos, charts, or other graphics, many ATS can only read simple text and will skim over it. Avoid using any formatting elements that could prevent an ATS from reading all of your information when selecting or designing an ATS resume. 

    1. Find the right keywords.  

    The most efficient way to choose keywords for an ATS resume is to read the job description and look for role-specific terminology. Incorporate pertinent experience or education into your CV. Avoid overloading your resume with keywords, and let it read organically without any grammar mistakes. 

    Action verbs and job-related skills are the two categories of keywords you should be on the lookout for. Your major traits and qualities for the job are job-related skills. Action verbs demonstrate your accomplishments and professional success. Make a list of these keywords after scanning the job description, then include them in your resume. 

    1. Choose the right file type   

    A PDF is excellent at maintaining file data without affecting the integrity of the document, but it might not function with every ATS. There are numerous ATS, and not all of them accept PDFs.   

    Make sure you review the list of permitted file formats before uploading your resume. Upload your ATS resume in a .doc or .docx format if PDF is not listed as an acceptable choice. 

    Run an ATS check on your resume  

    When you have finished creating your resume, simply go to to run an ATS check. Here’s how you do it: 

    Copy all the information listed on your resume and paste it into a plain-text document, or you can upload your resume directly to the tool. 

    Copy and paste the job description you are aiming to apply for, then hit Scan. 


    • Go for a simple layout, font, and design. 

    • Search for ATS resume templates before starting to design your resume. 

    • Avoid acronyms because short forms may not be recognized by some ATS systems. It's preferable to include both the whole word and the acronym. e.g.: National Economics University (NEU).