ATS Friendly Resume: How To Optimize Your Resume (With Examples)

image of ATS Friendly Resume: How To Optimize Your Resume (With Examples)

An applicant tracking system (ATS), that is designed and developed to fetch ATS Friendly Resume, is a recruiting software that helps streamline the hiring process. The tracking systems are designed to extract the relevant information from the resume, such as work experience, educational background, skills, etc. The data reveals that the software rejects more than 70% of resumes. You should be aware that if you do not submit an ATS friendly resume, it will never reach the final recruiter.

Let us understand what an ATS friendly resume is, how you can build an ATS friendly resume, and the key aspects you must keep in mind.

What is an ATS Friendly Resume?

An ATS friendly resume is a type of document or resume that the applicant tracking systems (ATS) can easily parse. The formatting of an ATS-compliant resume is kept simple and clean so that it is easier to comprehend for the software. The application tracking systems can process, collect, sort, and rank the applications based on how well they meet the recruiter’s requirements. More than 90% of Fortune 500 companies have already incorporated an application tracking system to streamline the entire process of recruitment.

The software scans the resume and looks for relevant keywords that match the job specifications set by the recruiter. The requirements may include the work experience, skills, qualifications, or necessary certifications required for the role. This is one of the reasons it is essential to focus on and incorporate the desired keywords in the resume.

Keep in mind that if your resume does not meet the requirements set on ATS, it will never get through to the human recruiter.

Let’s understand better with the help of an example:
Your resume summary reads, “SaaS copywriter with 5+ years of experience specialising in improving landing page conversions. Experienced in A/B testing software, including Firebase and Optimizely and delivering compelling copies. Increased conversions for client X by 15% in the first two weeks by building and testing four new landing page variations. Proven experience of employer satisfaction and strong communication skills.”

ATS will read it as follows: 

  • SaaS Copywriter
  • 5+ Years of experience
  • Firebase and Optimizely
  • Designing landing pages
  • Increased conversions
  • Employer satisfaction
  • Strong communication skills

The software will then proceed to match it with the list of requirements specified by the recruiter:

  • CHECK: SaaS Copywriter
  • CHECK: 5+ Years of experience
  • NOT CHECK: Firebase and Optimizely
  • CHECK: Designing landing pages
  • CHECK: Increased conversions
  • CHECK: Employer satisfaction
  • CHECK: Strong communication skills
  • NOT CHECK: Microsoft Office

If your resume does not match the requisite skills, it will be automatically discarded or disqualified. In case, your resume matches the requirements, it will be ranked based on relevance. The resume that matches all the requirements will be listed at the top of the recruiter’s pipeline.

Also Read: How to improve your work-life balance

How do ATS Work?

Before we get into how to create an ATS friendly resume, let us understand how these systems work. When you are well-versed with the technologies of the system, you will be in a better position to understand what things to list or include on your resume. At times, the recruiters are overwhelmed with a number of applications. It is likely that the hiring manager may not have time to scan through each candidate’s resume. These systems are designed to make the process of recruitment easier and assist employers from initial shortlisting to final selection.

The ATS work as gatekeepers and help filter out the relevant candidates from the pool of applications. The core of the applicant tracking systems is the database, which helps reduce the need for maintaining multiple spreadsheets. After the job requirement is posted, the recruiter is likely to receive applications from various sources. Some candidates may send their application via email, some personally share it, and others apply online.

The key feature of these systems is that they can import resumes from multiple sources. Be it an old-school hardcopy or an email; the ATS will track the application and add it to the company’s database. The electronic resumes will then be converted into the system-generated language to help scan the content mentioned on the resume.

An effective ATS combines AI algorithms with Natural Language Processing (NPL) to scan the semantic keywords and match them to rank each candidate’s profile. The software may help enhance the candidate’s experience. Most of the time, candidates might skip an application because of the lengthier processes. The process of recruitment can be shortened with the help of ATS. The recruiters will even get access to enhanced reporting and analytics, which can be used to increase team efficiency.

How to Write an ATS Friendly Resume?

Here is a step-by-step approach that candidates must follow to create an ATS friendly and ATS-compliant resume.

Pick the Right Resume Format

While formatting an ATS friendly resume, the most important thing is to determine and pick the correct resume format. There are three standard resume formats that you can choose from, including reverse chronological, functional, and combination format. The reverse chronological format is the most compatible format as it lists out everything on the basis of relevance and highlights the most recent job at the top.

If you have a long history or work experience of more than ten years, you must consider adding data from the last three years. Avoid overstuffing the resume with loads of information. If you use a combination format, make sure you list the necessary details and follow the other guidelines for formatting your resume.

The work experience should include the following information for each job position: 

  • Company name
  • Location of the organization
  • Start and end dates
  • Job title
  • Work responsibilities
  • Achievements

Choose the Appropriate File Type

PDF files are universal and can be scanned by most ATS software. A PDF file should be your go-to while structuring the resume. However, it would be ideal to read the job description before applying. The old and previous versions of the software were limited to scanning the doc versions only. Before applying, go through the description and read all the details. Using the wrong file, template, or format automatically reduces your chances of reaching the final stage. Even the top profiles get rejected because of these errors. You must focus on all these aspects to improve your chances of reaching the eyes of the recruiter.

Use an ATS Friendly Template

Most applications get rejected because they are not using the correct template or format. The ATS friendly template should not be high on graphics and should be on the lines of professionalism. Avoid spending too much time making those fancy resumes. Look for templates that are sleek and professional in appeal.

Choose a Simple Layout

If you are not using a predefined template, you should consider keeping the layout simple. Avoid using typographers and designer fonts for any of the sections. Use professional fonts and keep the font size consistent across the resume. You may consider using a bigger font size for headings and subheadings. Other than this, avoid adding responsibilities and descriptions in the form of paragraphs. Divide them into different sections, or the ideal way to write these would be to add bulleted points.

Add the Job Title to Resume Headline

The resume headline appears at the top of the resume, right below the contact information and your personal details. The headline entices the recruiters to read your resume and works as the attention hook in the resume. You should look for job titles and add them to your resume headline to increase the chances of getting your application scanned by the systems.

For instance, the job title is ‘Marketing Automation Specialist’. You may consider adding the headline as, ‘Seasoned Marketing Automation Specialist holding more than 10+ years of industry experience.’ The other way could be ‘Result oriented Marketing Automation Specialist with 10+ years of industry experience.’

Add Relevant Skills to Resume

Hiring managers and recruiters do not look for specific roles and positions. Rather, every organization is looking for candidates with specific skills. Read the job description carefully and find out the skills that have been mentioned in it. If you do not include the relevant skills mentioned in the job description, it probably will not reach the eyes of the recruiting managers.

Let us understand this better with the help of an example. If there is a requirement for Data Analyst, the recruiter is likely to add some of the common skills such as SQL, Machine Learning, AI, data management, probability and statistics. Go through the job description to determine which skills have to be added or removed. Make sure you add all the skills to increase your chances of meeting the recruiter’s needs.

Use Keywords Properly

The Application Tracking Systems are designed in a way to scan the applications for specific keywords. These systems automatically weed out applications that do not match the requirements. Henceforth, it makes sense to incorporate keywords or relevant phrases into the resume. Read the job description carefully to understand the keywords and skills that are required for the role. Use the keywords wisely in your resume. Do not overstuff or try to add all the keywords related to the role. It can leave a negative impression in the recruiter’s mind and make them think you are trying to beat the system. You need to use the exact keywords as they are.

Furthermore, you should consider using the long-form version as well as the acronym version of the keyword. For instance, customer relationship management is also referred to as CRM. You must consider incorporating both versions in your resume for better visibility of your resume.

Name and Label Each Section Carefully

The first thing that you need to ensure is that you name the file correctly. When you name it randomly, the recruiters may face difficulty finding your resume. Using unprofessional names can even impact your image and make the recruiters think you are not the right fit. Consider naming it with your name or your name and the designation you are applying for.

Other than this, you must consider labelling each section on the resume carefully. You should use common terminologies that are used for resume writing. For instance, skills, work experience, educational background, interests, hobbies, and more.

Use Professional Fonts

Here are the top professional and ATS friendly fonts that you may consider using: 

  • Times New Roman
  • Calibri
  • Garamond
  • Cambria
  • Arial
  • Georgia
  • Tahoma
  • Gill Sans
  • Palatino
  • Verdana
  • Helvetica

Check for Grammar and Errors

Make sure that there are no grammatical errors on your resume. The ATS applications are not programmed to read incorrect spellings or grammatical errors. They will read the content of your resume the way it is written. Therefore, you should check your resume and look for mistakes. Make sure that the grammar is correct for better understanding for the ATS and the recruiter. Do not rely entirely on software or spell check. Read over the resume a couple of times or ask your friend to proofread it for you.

Make it Easier to Scan

Here are some aspects you must keep in mind to increase the chances of getting noticed and making the resume application easier to scan.

  • Use simple and clear language to make it easy to decode by the ATS and the final recruiter.
  • Only use jargons and terminologies that are related to the industry.
  • Use commonly used and professional fonts mentioned above.
  • Stick to 10-12 px for regular text and 14-16 px for headings and titles.
  • Use the correct format of dates like MM/YY. Do not add the year only, as it may create confusion.
  • Keep margins of 1-inches on all sides to avoid overlapping and overcrowding on the text.
  • Avoid using too many bolds and italics in the text.
  • Stick to standard circle bullet points. Do not add fancy bullet points.
  • Use the correct file type so that the software can scan it easily.
  • A single error can make it difficult for the ATS reader to scan it.

What is an ATS Friendly Resume Template?

An ATS Friendly resume template is a specific format that gets parsed through the applicant tracking system easily. Even after incorporating all the keywords, the ATS may not extract or detect the application if it does not meet the predefined standards of the system. The irregular formatting, designer fonts, advanced designs, and colourful images can make it difficult for the ATS to extract the information. The improper sorting is one of the reasons most applications get rejected. Some templates are easier to comprehend and designed keeping the tracking systems in mind. We will discuss the template and the formatting tips in the later section of the article.

Common Formatting Mistakes of an ATS Friendly Resume

Here are some of the common mistakes that you must avoid while structuring your ATS friendly resume: 

  • Do not use designer or inappropriate fonts. Experiment with Bold or Italics instead of changing the font style.
  • Avoid using non-uniform and irregular date formats.
  • Do not add long sentences, as it can make it difficult for the reader to comprehend.
  • Avoid adding keywords unnecessarily in between sentences.
  • Do not add many graphical details such as tables, graphs, columns, charts, coloured texts, illustrations, header, and footer.
  • Keep the spacing between the texts and the paragraphs uniform.
  • Do not add fancy borders or margins to make it look attractive.
  • Do not forget to add page numbers to the resume.
  • Make the content concise and avoid orphaned lines.
  • Avoid using incorrect section titles. Use standard terminologies such as professional experience or work experience, education, skills, languages known, and more.
  • The ATS will not scan details such as photos, date of birth, hobbies, and marital status. Therefore, you should save some space on the resume and skip adding these details.

You may consider doing an ATS formatting check to understand how it evaluates your resume. Besides this, every ATS is different, and you should be comfortable with customizing your resume according to its structure.

ATS Resume Template

The Application Tracking System will parse and read the important information mentioned on the resume. Most ATS systems parse the information in two popular techniques. However, resumes with clear and defined formatting structures are easier to parse, irrespective of the technique used. Here, we are mentioning some of the sections that must be included while designing the template for an ATS-compliant resume.


This is the top section of the resume that must include your name and job title detail. You may even consider adding your contact information along with it.

Resume Summary or Objective

A resume summary is a professional statement at the top of your resume that may help describe the candidate’s relevant experience, skills, and accomplishments. On the other hand, a resume objective is a short and concise statement describing you and your goals. Both types of statements are essential for describing the set of goals but serve different purposes.

It has been commonly found that most people skip objectives on their resume because it does not add value to them. On the other hand, a resume summary may describe ‘What the candidate can do for the company. The summary proves a jobseeker’s value, and you may consider adding it to your resume. If you are a fresher or have lesser experience, you may consider adding objectives to highlight your skills and how you want to utilize them.


The following section should highlight your educational background. You may also highlight the relevant classes, projects, or languages learned during the course.

[Title of Degree] [School Name] [Graduation Date]

[Relevant Classes/ Projects/ Languages]

Work Experience

The next thing you should add to your resume is work experience. Consider including internships, contractual roles, and permanent positions under the same heading. Adding too many sections may create confusion and may even not get scanned. You must follow the desired format or structure to make it easier for the ATS to parse your resume. Here is the structure you must follow to mention the work experience on the resume.

[Job Title] [Name of Organization] [City of Organization] [Dates of Employment]

[Roles, responsibilities, and significant accomplishments]

Skills, Interests, or Other Accomplishments

In the final section of the resume, you may consider adding your skills, interests, and accomplishments. Label each section carefully and consider writing short phrases or one-words explaining the skills and interests.

Example of an ATS Friendly Resume

Here are some examples of ATS friendly resume to help you understand better:

Example 1: 

Smriti Khurana Copywriter

Creative Copywriter with more than 4 years of experience, skilled in writing copies for print ads, digital ads and scripts for TV commercials and YouTube videos                                                                   +919888888888

Mumbai, Maharashtra                                                                  


Bachelors of Arts in Journalism (Specialization in Corporate Communication)

Mumbai University

May 2015 – May 2018

Grade – 8.8 CGPA

Work Experience 

Senior Copywriter, Burton Agency 


March 2020 – Present

  • Handling the communication strategy for some of the leading brands, including Videocon, Panasonic, Prestige, Big Bazaar, and more.
  • Devising communication strategies and writing copies for print, video, and digital ads.
  • Collaborating with web designers and graphic designers to maintain the brand identity and consistency across channels.
  • Managing a team of three junior copywriters and interns.
  • Increased user engagement for Videocon on Facebook and Instagram by 35% in four months.
  • Campaign for Big Bazaar helped boost sales and increased conversions by 29% in two months.

Copywriter, Create and Ideate


January 2019 – February 2020

  • Responsible for writing copies for social media and digital ads.
  • Created video scripts and series for digital campaigns that reached an audience of 10M+.
  • Prepared content for presentations and online sales copy.
  • Scripted and designed the award-winning campaign for Naukri.
  • Assisted graphic designers to ensure brand consistency and accuracy of the copies.

Junior Copywriter, Pears Consulting and Advertising 


December 2018 – December 2019

  • Writing copies for print ads, social media campaigns, and digital advertisements.
  • Designing campaigns that meet the needs of the clients and deadlines.
  • Assisted senior communication consultants in devising campaigns and overall brand strategies.
  • Collaborated with graphic designers to ensure brand consistency and decide on the brand’s visual language.


Copywriting                                                                        Storyboarding

Conceptualization and Strategy                                    Writing scripts and commercials

Editing                                                                                 Creative Writing

Attention to detail                                                             Time Management


English, Hindi, Marathi, Spanish


Calligraphy                             Cooking                           Gardening

Example 2:

John DoeMobile Developer                                                                   202-555-0909

New York, USA                                                                      

Experienced Mobile App Developer with 4+ years of IT experience in Analysis, Design, and Development of Mobile Application Development for iPhone and Android. Self-motivated and quick learner, looking for another opportunity to advance my career.


Bachelor’s Degree in Software Development

Brooks College

March 2015 – May 2018

Grade: 7.0 CGPA

Work Experience 

Mobile App Developer, Pear Technologies Ltd. 

December 2019 – Present

Vermont, New York

  • Nominee for the 2019 Google Play Awards for ‘Standouts Live Sports Application’
  • Implemented features that helped improve engagement rate and retention rate by 85% in one app and two games.
  • Responsible for designing and deploying the full app lifecycle.
  • Designing and developing applications using CSS3, Javascript, Sencha, and PhoneGap.
  • Fixing bugs and finding new ways to improve and enhance the features of the app.
  • Handling a team of two interns and providing technical assistance to them.

Mobile Developer, Webcom 

December 2018 – November 2019

Vermont, New York

  • Designing, developing, testing, and implementing the mobile applications using the Sencha touch framework and PhoneGap framework.
  • Updated and resolved critical bugs related to native code and compatibility issues with applications.
  • Refined and developed features of the app that helped decrease the crashes by 50% and helped increase the retention rate by 65%.

Mobile Developer Trainee, RLW Technologies 

June 2018 – November 2018

New Jersey, New York

  • Writing unit and UI tests to identify the malfunctions and bugs in the applications.
  • Responsible for maintaining the entire application lifecycle (design, concept, build, create, test, deploy, and support)
  • Coordinating with the designers and development team to deliver enhanced and well-architectured applications.


Coding                                                                       Native app writing

Unit tests                                                                   Automation and code reviews

Java                                                                            React.js

Kotlin                                                                          React Native

Swift                                                                            UI-UX


English, French


Gardening                                       Music

Example 3: 

Nishita KhannaBusiness Development Manager                                                                 +91-9999988888

Delhi, India                                                                           

Agile Business Development Professional with 10+ years of experience with a flawless record of operational excellence, revenue improvement, strategic planning, and customer relationship management


Master in Business Administration 

Mumbai University

May 2010 – May 2012

Percentage: 70%

Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration 

Symbiosis University

March 2007 – March 2010

Percentage: 71.2%

Work Experience 

Business Development Manager, Air State Solutions  

January 2019 – Present


  • Defined and implemented new marketing and sales strategies for the next five years.
  • Handling a team of five junior business executives and analysts.
  • Directed and looked after the implementation of the Business Continuity Plan.
  • Successfully managed and directed USD 3 – USD 4 million budget products, ensuring that the project goals were met.
  • Increased satisfaction from 40% to 71% by improving customer service and experience.
  • Devising techniques to convert new clients into loyal customers.
  • Liaising and collaborating with different departments to ensure that the project goals are met.

Senior Business Development Associate, Air State Solutions  

June 2017 – December 2018


  • Partnering with sales and marketing teams to conduct contract-winning proposals.
  • Maintaining relationships with candidates and developing relationships with prospective clients.
  • Collaborating with design, marketing, and production teams to ensure that the product specifications are executed properly.

Business Development Assistant, AKS Solutions  

January 2014 – May 2017


  • Developed processes for lead generation that helped increase the conversion rate by 39%.
  • Executed marketing strategies to generate new business and sales-qualified leads (SQL) by 32%.
  • Developed a data-driven approach to automate the entire process and reduce manual operations.
  • Recognized for being the top performer and business development assistant for 2016.

Junior Business Development, ThinQ 

June 2012 – December 2013


  • Researched new products and services to identify the needs of potential customers.
  • Created a holistic paid acquisition strategy to increase the ROI of the organization by 29%.
  • Fostered strong relationships with current and potential clients, which helped increase the number of repeat clients and purchases.
  • Implemented new strategies to improve the website traffic and time spent by prospective clients.
  • Conducted sales presentations and client pitches.


Negotiation and Persuasion                                                           Collaboration

Project Management                                                                        Research & Strategy

Business Intelligence                                                                       Outbound Marketing

Emotional Intelligence                                                                    Public Speaking

Google Analytics                                                                               Social Media Advertising

Teamwork                                                                                          Email Marketing


English, Hindi, Punjabi French


Cooking                     Sketching

Summing Up

ATS is an innovative technology that makes the task of scanning each resume easier for recruiters. However, it makes work harder for jobseekers. Before you apply for the role, you would have to make specific changes to your resume. You should even tailor your resume for each application and follow the guidelines to make it an ATS friendly resume. We hope this guide helps resolve your concerns. Keep following us for more such tips and tricks.

Also Read: Resume For Internship

Search Articles


Recent Blogs

  • Top 10 Best job portals in India in 2023
    Feb 6, 2023
  • Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in Mumbai
    Jan 20, 2023
  • Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs In Bangalore
    Jan 16, 2023
  • Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs In Delhi 2023
    Jan 9, 2023
  • 6 Basic Rules for Resume Writing
    Dec 30, 2022
  • How To List Certifications on Resume (With Examples)
    Dec 28, 2022
  • What is a CV?
    Nov 28, 2022
  • What Are Interpersonal Skills? Importance & Examples
    Nov 9, 2022
  • How to Write Profile Summary for Freshers?
    Nov 7, 2022
  • How To Write a Follow Up Email
    Nov 4, 2022

Latest videos

Looking for a job?