ATS filter friendly resume tips

ATS (Applicant Tracking System) software can also act as a filter, studying every resume submitted and forwarding only the most relevant, qualified candidates to the employer or recruiter.

Here are some dos and don’ts to consider when you’re submitting your resume online that could help you to get past the ATS and ensure your application gets to the employer’s desk. They’re also useful tips to consider if you want to impress a human as well.


Make sure your resume beats the ATS filter

Follow the few tips below and you’ll stand a better chance of your resume getting to the inbox of potential employers and recruiters:

  • Apply for jobs that you’re qualified for (or can meet 75% of the criteria)
  • Edit the resume even if it’s for a very similar role to one you’ve previously applied for
  • Include key words used in the job advert or description
  • Use key words in the context of your accomplishments or work experience
  • Write out titles etc in full and add acronyms in parentheses
  • Do use the correct file type to upload your resume (PDF or Word usually)
  • Use conventional section headings
  • Use a universal font like Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Garamond, Georgia, or Cambria
  • Bold, italics, underlining, bullets and colours are fine

Remember, if your resume is ATS friendly, the chances are it’ll impress a whole lot of humans as well.

What not to do

Once you’ve created your resume, for an online application and before you attach it –  just check you’re not making any of the mistakes below:

  • Don’t apply for lots of different jobs at the same company using the same resume
  • Don’t try to trick the ATS using tips you’ve seen online, e.g. use white text – they won’t work
  • Don’t have a dedicated keywords section
  • Don’t overuse or over stuff key words into your resume
  • Avoid using any tables, text boxes, logos, images, graphics, columns, headers and footers, fancy fonts
  • Make spelling or grammatical errors

Final Tip

Include a short elevator-style pitch about yourself, highlighting how you meet the key criteria for the role as well as your skills and achievements.

Not only will it pass the ATS filter, it’ll also be a great read if it makes its way to the hiring manager.


Here’s an example of an ATR friendly resume template


Applying for jobs and need more help?

Have a look at the Getting a Job Guide for more tips, tricks, and advice.


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