25 ATS-Friendly CV Writing Tips

In today’s competitive job market, having an ATS-friendly CV is crucial to ensure your resume gets noticed by potential employers. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are software used by companies to streamline the hiring process, and they play a significant role in shortlisting candidates for interviews.

To stand out from the crowd and improve your chances of landing your dream job, you need to tailor your CV to pass the ATS filters. In this article, we will explore 25 experts ATS-friendly CV writing tips that will showcase your skills, experience, and expertise, ultimately boosting your chances of securing that coveted job offer.

Understanding ATS CV

Before we jump into the tips, let’s take a moment to understand what ATS is and how it affects the job application process. Applicant Tracking Systems are software used by companies to streamline their hiring process. These systems help employers manage and filter through large volumes of resumes, making the process more efficient.

When you submit your CV to a company’s online application portal, it is first scanned by an applicant tracking system (ATS). The ATS looks for specific keywords, skills, and qualifications that match the job description. Based on its analysis, the ATS ranks the resumes and selects the most relevant ones to pass on to human recruiters for further review.

Therefore, it is essential to ensure your CV is ATS-friendly to increase your chances of getting noticed and moving forward in the application process.

1. Start with the Right Template

One of the first steps to creating an ATS-friendly CV is to choose the right template. Opt for a clean and professional design that is easy for the ATS to parse. Steer clear of complex layouts or heavy graphics, as they might confuse the system and cause it to overlook essential details in your CV.

2. Use ATS-Friendly Keywords

Keywords are crucial when it comes to ATS-friendly CVs. Make sure to include relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords throughout your resume, aligning them with the job description and the industry you’re applying for. These keywords help the ATS recognize your suitability for the position. To find the right keywords, carefully read the job description and take note of the terms that are used frequently. Incorporate them into your CV, especially in the summary, skills, and experience sections.

3. Tailor Your CV for Each Application

A common mistake job seekers make is sending out generic CVs to multiple job applications. To improve your chances of passing the ATS filters, customize your resume for each job you apply to. Align your CV with the specific job requirements and use language similar to the job description. This tactic helps match the ATS keywords and increases your chances of getting shortlisted.

4. Highlight Key Skills

Having a dedicated “Skills” section in your CV is an excellent way to catch the ATS’s attention. Use a bulleted list to highlight crucial skills. This organized approach makes it easier for the ATS to identify your qualifications and match them with the job requirements.

5. Use Standard Fonts and Formats

Keep your CV’s formatting simple and standardized to ensure compatibility with ATS. Stick to commonly used fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri, and use clear headings and subheadings. Unconventional fonts may not be recognized by the ATS, leading to potential issues.

6. Optimize Your CV Structure

An organized CV structure is vital for ATS readability. Use appropriate headings such as “Work Experience,” “Education,” “Skills,” and more to help the ATS categorize and understand your CV better.

7. Avoid Using Headers and Footers

Headers and footers may look nice in a physical CV, but ATS might not recognize them. Avoid using these elements, and instead, place your contact details and name directly in the body of the CV.

8. Focus on Relevant Work Experience

While it’s tempting to list all your work experiences, focus on the ones that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for. This prevents overwhelming your CV and ensures that the ATS can find the most pertinent information quickly.

9. Quantify Achievements

Numbers speak volumes! Whenever possible, use specific numbers and data to quantify your achievements. Not only will this impress recruiters, but it also helps the ATS recognize your impact and performance.

10. Be Mindful of File Formats

Save your CV in a common file format, such as PDF or Word (.docx). ATS systems are designed to read these formats efficiently, reducing the risk of compatibility issues.

11. Avoid Using Images and Graphics

As much as you might want to showcase your creativity with images and graphics, it’s best to avoid them in your CV. ATS systems can have trouble parsing such elements, and you don’t want critical details to be overlooked.

12. Use Bullet Points and Lists

Make your CV easily scannable for both ATS and human recruiters by organizing content using bullet points and lists. This format ensures better readability and comprehension.

13. Showcase Relevant Certifications

If you have certifications that are relevant to the job, create a dedicated section to showcase them. ATS recognizes these qualifications, giving you an edge over other candidates.

14. Include Industry-Specific Terms

Demonstrate your industry knowledge by incorporating relevant jargon and keywords into your CV. This shows employers that you are familiar with the field. However, avoid overusing unrelated terms, as it might seem forced.

15. Proofread Your CV Thoroughly

Typos and errors can be detrimental to your job application. Before submitting your CV, thoroughly proofread it to ensure it’s error-free. Consider asking someone else to review it as well, as fresh eyes can often catch mistakes you might miss.

16. Optimize Your Contact Information

Double-check your contact details to ensure they are accurate and up-to-date. Incorrect information may result in missed interview opportunities, and that’s the last thing you want.

ats friendly cv

17. Use Reverse Chronological Order

When listing your work experience and education, follow a reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent first. This helps the ATS focus on your recent accomplishments, which are often the most relevant.

18. Avoid Fancy Fonts and Styling

To maintain ATS compatibility, keep your Csimplerd. Avoid using fancy fonts, italics, underlines, or all caps. Stick to a professional and clean format.

19. Keep It Concise

While it’s important to showcase your achievements and experience, keep your CV concise and to the point. ATS prefers well-structured, relevant content that is easy to parse.

20. Include a Customized Cover Letter

Although not directly related to the CV, a customized cover letter can enhance your application. It shows your interest in the position and allows you to expand on specific qualifications that might not fit in your CV.

21. Use Job Titles from the Job Description

Incorporate the exact job titles used in the job posting to increase the chances of matching with ATS filters. This alignment makes it easier for the ATS to identify your suitability for the role.

22. Avoid Table-Based CVs

Tables might look neat, but ATS systems may not read them effectively. It’s best to stick to a simple, linear formatting style for your CV.

23. Mention Relevant Software Skills

If the job requires specific software skills, be sure to mention them in your CV, especially if they align with the job description. ATS recognizes these keywords and attributes importance to them.

24. Include Relevant Education

Highlight education that aligns with the job requirements, especially if you have certifications or degrees in the relevant field. Relevant educational qualifications can impress both ATS and recruiters.

25. Seek Professional Advice

If you’re unsure about creating an ATS-friendly CV, don’t hesitate to seek advice from professional CV writers or career coaches. They specialize in this area and can offer valuable insights and suggestions.

Frequently Asked Questions about ATS-Friendly CV Writing

Q1: How do ATS systems impact the job application process?

ATS systems significantly impact the job application process by automating and streamlining the initial screening of resumes. They help companies handle large volumes of applications more efficiently by scanning and ranking CVs based on specific keywords and qualifications. This automated process determines which candidates move on to the next stages of the hiring process, making it crucial for job seekers to create ATS-friendly CVs.

Q2: Can I use creative CV templates for ATS applications?

While creative CV templates might look appealing, it’s best to avoid them for ATS applications. ATS systems are designed to read straightforward, text-based CVs more effectively. Using overly creative templates might result in compatibility issues or make it difficult for the ATS to parse your CV correctly.

Q3: How can I identify the right keywords for my CV?

Identifying the right keywords for your CV involves carefully reading and analyzing the job description. Look for industry-specific terms, required skills, and qualifications that the employer is seeking. Incorporate these keywords naturally throughout your CV, especially in the skills and experience sections, to increase the chances of matching with ATS filters.

Q4: Should I submit my CV in PDF or Word format?

Both PDF and Word formats are generally acceptable for ATS applications. However, PDF is often preferred because it retains the formatting and ensures consistency across various devices and operating systems. If you choose to submit a Word document, ensure that it maintains its layout and doesn’t get altered when opened on different platforms.

Q5: Is it essential to include a cover letter with my CV?

While including a cover letter is not always mandatory, it can significantly enhance your application. A customized cover letter allows you to express your interest in the position and highlight specific qualifications or experiences that might not fit in your CV. It’s an opportunity to stand out and make a personal connection with the employer.

Q6: Do all companies use ATS for hiring?

Not all companies use ATS for hiring, but it’s becoming increasingly common in the modern job market. Larger organizations and those with high volumes of applications often rely on ATS to streamline their recruitment process. Smaller companies may still use manual methods to review resumes. As ATS adoption growsjob seekers need to bebe mindful of ATS-friendly CV writing.


By incorporating these 25 expert ATS-friendly CV writing tips, you’ll improve your chances of getting noticed by both ATS systems and human recruiters. Remember to customize your CV for each application, use the right keywords, and maintain a clean and professional format. Balancing creativity with ATS compatibility is the key to standing out from the competition and landing your dream job. Happy job hunting!