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Best Resume Template for Applicant Tracking System

Best Resume Template for Applicant Tracking System
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Optimizing your friendly resume for the Applicant Tracking System can help You to get automatically in the top 25% of candidates when you apply for a job.

What is an ATS?

ATS (Application Tracking System) is a special software used by job recruiters to scan resumes and other important documents for skills, job titles, and educational background of a candidate.

It is a centralized tool where HR (Human Resource) Teams can manage candidate sourcing, evaluating and hiring.

A company’s HR team will be able to use this platform to do things like:

  • Make Career Pages
  • Parse Resumes
  • Schedule Interviews
  • Send Offer Letters

Now, just to clarify, ATS is not the same thing as an HRIS (Human Resource Information System). You might find some ATS features in an HRIS, you will not find many HRIS features in an ATS.

ATS helps to manage all the candidates applying for positions.

ATS solutions are usually better for small to medium-sized companies that don’t need all the bells and whistles of a full HRIS.

90% of the large companies use ATS and the majority of medium and small-sized companies are shifting this direction as well.

How does ATS Work?

ATS sorts through all the resumes which are gained for a position and converts them into a standard basic format.

It then takes these standardized resumes and checks them against the job description to see which ones are the best match.

A candidate’s resume is scored by fulfilling certain criteria. This determines whether candidates are best for advertised positions or not. 

So, a recruiter or a hiring manager will already know which candidate is the most likely to be a good fit for the position of their vacancy.

For example, they can ask you: “How many years of PM work experience do you have?”

PM (Project Management) needs excellent client-facing and internal communication skills.

How You can be in the Top 25% With ATS?

On Average, ATS reject 75% of the resumes they received as not being a good match.

This means for the typical position; you’ll be in the top 25% just by being able to pass the software screening.

ATS is set up in connection with specific jobs.

Each job that’s in the system is going to look a little bit different.

The hiring manager defines the skills and the different keywords that may show up on the resume that are most important to being able to accomplish the job.

Then the software performs the match.

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Why a Company needs ATS?

An ATS can help the hiring process faster and more efficiently as it’s paperless which mother nature appreciates.

It comes with features already integrated that are going to help parse through resumes.

ATS also scans over incoming resumes for certain keywords to help to filter the most relevant and exciting candidates first.

It’s also a great aid in recruiters’ organization’s DEI efforts by building customized workflows to standardize the hiring process and remove bias.

Some ATS solutions also include a resume blinding feature that hides a candidate’s name, location, and demographic info.

So that things that recruiters looks for are:

  • Skills
  • Qualifications
  • Education Experience

Finally, ATS solutions help with candidate engagement. Many ATS products work like a CRM in that the recruiters can email, call and sometimes text a candidate right from the system.

Some systems let recruiters set up contact cadences so that outreach happens as soon as possible and communication doesn’t slip through the cracks.

Alright so let’s recap really quick, using an ATS can help the company’s recruiters to:

  • Speed up hiring
  • Make progress on DEI Efforts
  • Help keep candidates engaged

How a Company’s ATS Chooses You?

First, the company builds a careers website where candidates can apply for jobs.

Then ATS parses their resumes according to the keywords that candidates define ahead of time.

Candidates that match best advertising requirements get put in a priority list for human recruiters to review.

Once the company has some candidates, recruiters can collaborate with one another to exchange thoughts and review candidates’ documents and other applications.

Then, the recruiters vote yay or nay on those candidates and choose them for the job.

Recruiters can also use an ATS to communicate with candidates.

So, for those promising candidates, the company can use ATS to schedule interviews.  

These usually integrate with the company’s calendar software like outlook or google calendar.

So, the whole process can be seamless and then when the exciting time comes and the company is ready to hire a candidate.

The company can even use ATS to send those offer letters.

Some of these systems even come with tools to help the company to negotiate compensation packages and do things like the background checks.

The company can also use their system to send the candidate’s information to government programs like e-verify to confirm their employment eligibility.

Another really cool feature that most ATS solutions give is the ability for candidates to request where the company keeps their information on file in case another relevant opportunity arises.

So, this means that even if the company doesn’t hire a candidate but they think the previous candidates could be a good option,the company can keep their application on file to help build a passive talent pool for future job openings.

What is an ATS Friendly Resume?

An ATS Friendly or Compliant Resume is a document designed in a way to let ATS parse the resume easily.

Its formatting is so simple that it can be scanned with ease.

Having not well ATS causes you to end up in the recruitment blackhole for eternity. That’s why your resume never goes to the human recruiter.

A resume tailored for ATS is also going to be well formatted and easy to read.

So, when they have that resume on their desk, it’s going to be super simple for them to understand your qualifications.

Why ATS Friendly Resume?

You need such a resume that can parse the ATS.

Having an ATS-friendly resume without a parsable template will definitely cause your resume to fail the ATS scan.

So, picking the right ATS friendly resume is equally important as completing the resume.

After the Scan step, real human recruiters check your resume.

Having an ATS Friendly Resume will help the recruiters to have a great read of your resume.

Hence, there’s so much chance of your selection for the job.

Essential Things for ATS Friendly Resume

Things needed for making your resume ATS friendly are as follows:

  • ATS Friendly Template: You should have an ATS Friendly Template for having clear and attention gaining design of the job recruitment resume.  
  • Proper Formatting: A candidate’s resume must be formatted properly in order to pass ATS Scan.
  • Right Keywords: Your resume should have the right and relevant keywords like your skills, job titles, educational background and work experience. 
  • Easy Scanning: Having an ATS friendly resume makes it easier for the ATS scanner to make you go to the interviewing stage.

How to make an ATS Friendly Resume?

Here, I am giving you 10 tips to make your resume friendly with ATS for impressing the Hiring Manager.

1.Reply to a Specific Job Offer

To get invited to an interview, tailoring your resume to the job offer is crucial.

If you send a general resume having no threat of the job offer or doesn’t have much to do with the job offer itself, your resume approval chance is nearly zero.

So, you should include the treat of the job description specified in the advertisement.

Then, you can make informed guesses on the basis of job description as a specification for your resume and application documents.

2.Use the Same Words as the Job Description

If you see words used multiple times or phrases used multiple times, these are even more critical to include on your resume.

Once your resume is screened through the system and determined to be a good match, it will move on to a person for review.

They’ll determine whether you get a call for an interview or not.

Let’s Look at how ATS performs in this match.

ATS uses optical character recognition. It sounds complicated, but what it really means it scans the document looking for characters or letters and numbers that it recognizes.

While it’s really smart in this way, meaning it can scan PDFs or Word Documents and other forms, it’s not sophisticated enough to recognize unusual characters.

3.Customize Your Resume for Each Position

As ATS is set up to work with each job, you’ll need to update your resume for every different job you apply for.

The original resume you set up should be mostly usable.

You’ll likely just need to tweak a few words here and there to make sure they best match the job description.

4.Pick an ATS Friendly Resume Template

Mainly, you can find 3 resume formats:

  • Chronological Resume
  • Functional Resume
  • Combination Resume

So, use a chronological or hybrid resume format because recruiters are also most familiar with it.

It helps ATS to understand candidates’ information in a proper format.

You should pick a blank resume template improved for the ATS resume test.

To identify one, you should select a resume with easy graphical elements.

If the template is a PDF, you can copy the whole text and paste into a blank document.

Which Resume to Select and why?

You should select Chronological resume format because it’s the best and safest resume format for parsing ATS easily.

5.Use ATS Readable Fonts

Use simple fonts like Times New Roman or Arial fonts.

These are easily read by any ATS on the market today.

If there are any unknown fonts, some ATS can exchange it which will definitely alter your resume design. 

Having serif or sans-serif family fonts makes screen friendly, provides readability and gives a professional look. So, use a screen-friendly and traditional font.

Why to Choose Simple and Professional-Looking Fonts?

Choose simple and professional looking fonts for your resume because they are readable to both humans and machines. This increases your chance for job recruitment.

6.Use Standard Section Headings

All the headings of the resume must be easy to navigate because it removes confusion of the recruiter and helps your resume to be fully-understandable.

First of all, the ATS will definitely find where you have described your experience on the resume. So, don’t make them confused by labeling the Experience Section with Things I Am Proud Of.

Second of all, a recruiter has only 6 seconds to spend on your resume scanning. So, don’t confuse them by calling Education with What Made Me into Who I am.

Thirdly, writing section header like “Where I’ve Been” in place of “Work Experience” may confuse ATS, causing them to organize information incorrectly.

Don’t write, “fun jobs I’ve held” or anything like that.

So, avoid writing them and use standard section headings.

You want it to be really simple for the software to understand what you’re about to talk about in that section.

It used to be pretty common for people to put tables of their skills on their resume, and that was fine when a person was reviewing them.

But more than likely, most of those are going to get ignored by the system.

7.Use the ATS resume Keywords

An ATS resume must follow the pattern set out in the job offer so, the right resume keywords are essential.

For this, you should take a good look at the phrasing and describe your experience imitating the language of the job posting.

For example, the recruiter is looking for a financial manager, describe yourself as one. If you keep describing your finance related skills by overseeing the financial health of an organization and help ensure its continued viability and miss out the financial management keyword management keyword entirely, chances are the ATS resume test will miss it too.

8.Use long form and acronym versions of keywords

Job recruiters and Hiring Managers may use keywords to search for candidates.

Some ATS return exact matching results which means it will only return those searched terms.

For example, your profile will not appear for search “CV” if you have included the term “Curriculum Vitae” without its acronym counterpart.

9.Choose the Right Skills for the Position

You can have a high candidate score by ATS if you choose and put the right skills for the position on your resume.

This will help the recruiter to know that you are perfectly qualified to get the job done.

10. Have ATS and Recruiter in mind when Optimizing Your Resume

When you are focusing on optimization of your resume for the ATS scan, by doing all this, you might forget that a human (recruiter) will read it.

From the start, at the time of writing, just keep in mind that you need to write your resume which has to pass the resume ATS test.

So, make sure you have a well readable resume profile. This will help you to impress the recruiter with the achievements you simply put on your resume.

So, don’t forget to include the phrasing, right keywords and have focus on the areas delineated in the job advertisement.

Extra Tips

1.Avoid Pictures

Avoid putting pictures, especially if they’re in some really creative font on your resume.

ATS works best with simple formatting and clear wording.

Don’t try to get too creative. So, when you put work experience on your resume, write “work experience.”

2.Don’t Use Tables or Columns

Using tables and columns causes parsing errors in the ATS.

ATS also doesn’t play well with columns or tables.

So, make sure those aren’t on your resume although they improve readability for human readers.

3.Avoid Headers and Footers

Using them will cause loss of data in sections of header and footer and even cause parsing errors for ATS.

4.Save Your File as a .docx or PDF if Possible

Whenever it’s possible, try to save your file as a .docx or PDF because they are well-suited and compatible with ATS.

Some people favor PDFs as a better option than .docx format because the inner formatting of PDFs cannot be smashed.

Free Resume Templates

JobScan, a website trusted by many job seekers, has done much testing and research.

They have created 20 resume templates that are ATS Compatible where each ATS resume template is already designed, all you have to do is customize them with your information.

You can get free 20 ATS Friendly Resume Templates on JobScan official website.

Using one of these templates will make sure ATS can read your resume, so that you could land a job interview.

Feel free to apply without worrying about slipping into the resume black hole.

Pro Tips

You can check your resume whether it’s 100% ATS-Complaint or not by using an online ATS Resume Checker.

This checker will compare your resume against the job offer or advertisement to see how much you have fulfilled the requirements of the job advertisement and how much is remaining.

This resume optimization tool will help you to double-check your resume that you are not forgetting any skills and keywords relevant to the job description.


Setting up your resume to work with ATS is very simple.

Mastering ATS makes a huge difference in whether you get a call for an interview.

Have you tailored your resume to work with ATS?

Let me know in the comments below.

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