How to write and edit an ATS-friendly resume

What is ATS? 

It’s important nowadays to submit a resume that will be noticed by ATS.

ATS is the acronym for ‘Applicant Tracking Systems’ which are some of the software programs used by hiring or human resources companies to help them organise and filter applications for positions.

It so happens that the way to write a resume that gets noticed by ATS is also a good way to write resumes that are clearly written and easy to read.

Here are a few pointers.


Use the words that are used in the exact job description or selection criteria for the job for which you are applying. But also include other words relevant to the sorts of jobs you want to apply for because this will result in the ATS noticing your resume in relation to other jobs as well.

Make sure you address all the selection criteria, giving solid, recent examples that prove your skills/experience against each one.

Focus on your actual skills, experience and qualifications. Don’t write anything vague or ‘fluffy’. Stick to the facts and make sure all the facts are correct.

Always spell out your words instead of (or in addition to) using acronyms.

Fonts and format

All the main font types are recognised by ATS whether they are serif or sans serif fonts.  Most real people find it easier to read Times New Roman or serif fonts than sans serif. On the other hand, people with even mild reading difficulties find it easier to read sans serif fonts. So take your pick.

The best format to use for ATS purposes is one that produces a simple but professional-looking resume. Fancy imagery or tables are not ATS-friendly. To find out why, go to: Why it’s best to not use tables or columns in your resume.

Resume templates & more information

Here are some links to free resume templates. We advise you to keep the above suggestions in mind when choosing your resume template.

Other helpful links:

Image: thank you to WOCInTechChat for the use of this image.


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