A guide to crafting an ATS friendly cv

ATS-Friendly CV: What Is It And How To Craft One

In the competitive job market, the first challenge in landing your dream job is often getting your foot in the door. You might be a qualified candidate who gets overlooked simply because your resume or CV is not an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) friendly CV.

You have probably heard about the ATS and the emphasis on ATS-friendly CVs and resumes.

If I lost you at those terms, keep reading to know what the fuss is about them.

With Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), getting your foot in the door has become increasingly digitized, emphasizing the importance of crafting a CV that not only impresses human recruiters but also navigates the algorithms of these automated gatekeepers.

In simple words, your CV needs to fit into the desired category of the ATS, it’s like speaking a language that they understand.

If you are wondering how you can do that and don’t know where to begin, worry not.

In this guide, we’ll share tips to help you craft an ATS-friendly CV so you can secure that coveted interview.

Before diving into the specifics of crafting an ATS-compliant CV, it’s crucial to grasp the workings of Applicant Tracking Systems.

Understanding the ATS

Essentially, ATS (Applicant Tracking System) is software used by employers to manage the entire recruitment process, from receiving applications to hiring. 

These systems streamline the initial screening process by automatically parsing, scanning, and ranking resumes based on predefined criteria, which often include keywords, formatting, and relevance to the job description.

However, while the ATS (Applicant Tracking System) can efficiently sift through large volumes of resumes, it is not infallible. 

Poorly formatted CVs, lack of relevant keywords, and overly complex layouts can confuse the system, leading to qualified candidates being overlooked. 

Therefore, understanding how to optimize your CV for ATS is paramount to ensure it stands out amidst the digital noise.

So you need to ensure that you craft a CV that will make it past the ATS. 

It is super easy, let’s get into it.

A lady happy with an ATS friendly cv

Crafting an ATS-Friendly Format

The first step in creating an ATS-compliant CV is to focus on formatting. 

How To Format An ATS-compliant Resume

While fancy designs and elaborate layouts may catch the eye of a human reader, they can confuse ATS algorithms, leading to your resume being discarded prematurely. 

Meaning that your resume will not get to the hiring manager or recruiter.

To ensure compatibility, follow these guidelines:

Use Simple Formatting: 

Stick to basic fonts like Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman, and avoid complicated designs or graphics that may not be parsed correctly.

Clear Section Headings 

Organize your CV into distinct sections such as “Education,” “Work Experience,” “Skills,” and “Achievements” with clear headings. 

This helps ATS identify and categorize relevant information efficiently.

Standard File Format

Save your CV in a widely compatible format such as .docx or .pdf to ensure seamless parsing by ATS.

Avoid Headers and Footers

Information placed in headers and footers may not be parsed by ATS, so it’s best to include all critical details within the main body of the document.

Leveraging Keywords

Keywords are the keystone of an ATS-compliant CV. 

These are specific terms or phrases relevant to the job description, industry, or desired skill set that ATS algorithms are programmed to identify and prioritize. 

To craft an ATS-friendly CV, follow these strategies:

Analyze the Job Description: 

Carefully read the job posting and identify keywords related to skills, qualifications, and job responsibilities. 

Pay keen attention to recurring terms and phrases, as these are likely to be prioritized by ATS.

Incorporate Keywords Strategically

Integrate relevant keywords throughout your CV, particularly in the “Skills,” “Work Experience,” and “Education” sections. 

However, avoid keyword stuffing, as this can detract from the readability and authenticity of your CV.

Use Synonyms and Variations

ATS algorithms are designed to recognize variations of keywords, so consider using synonyms or alternative phrasings to increase your CV’s visibility.

Quantify Achievements: 

Whenever possible, quantify your achievements and experiences using specific metrics and numbers. 

This not only makes your CV more compelling to human recruiters but also enhances its relevance to ATS.

Optimizing Content

In addition to formatting and keywords, the content of your CV plays a crucial role in its ATS compatibility. Here are some tips to optimize the content for maximum impact:

Tailor Your CV for Each Application

It may be tempting to use a generic CV for multiple job applications.

However, customizing your resume for each position significantly improves its ATS compatibility and relevance.

Review the job description carefully and craft a unique CV to fit the job requirements.

Prioritize Relevant Information

Place the most relevant and significant information towards the beginning of each section.

This is to ensure it catches the attention of both ATS and human reviewers.

A good example is to put the most relevant job experience at the top of the experience section.

Include Section Headings and Bullet Points 

Use clear section headings and bullet points to present information in a concise and structured format. 

This not only improves readability but also makes it easier for ATS to go through and categorize your CV.

Proofread Carefully

Spelling and grammatical errors can detract from the professionalism of your CV and may also confuse ATS algorithms. 

Always proofread your CV thoroughly to ensure accuracy and clarity.

And there you have it, now you can craft the perfect ATS-friendly CV and land that dream job of yours.

A lady crafting an ATS friendly CV


In this age, crafting an ATS-compliant CV is key for job seekers looking to stand out in a crowded market. 

By understanding the inner workings of ATS and optimising your CV, you can increase your chances of advancing to the next stage of the recruitment process. 

So, the next time you’re revamping your CV, remember these principles to help you unlock the door to your dream job.

See it wasn’t that hard, now go create the perfect ATS-friendly and get noticed by employees.

All the best in your job-hunting journey!


What is an ATS-Friendly CV?

An ATS-Friendly CV is a curriculum vitae optimized to pass through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), a software used by employers to manage job applications.

Why is an ATS-Friendly CV important?

Many employers, especially larger companies, use ATS to streamline the hiring process. If your CV isn’t optimized for these systems, it may never reach human eyes, regardless of your qualifications. Thus, creating an ATS-Friendly CV increases your chances of getting noticed by potential employers.

How do I know if my CV is ATS-Friendly?

You can test your CV’s ATS compatibility using online ATS checker tools. These tools analyze your CV and provide feedback on its ATS compatibility, including suggestions for improvement.

How do I make my CV ATS-friendly for free?

There are numerous online resources, including articles, guides, and tutorials, that provide tips and practices for crafting an ATS-Friendly CV. You can also use free online templates as long as they follow ATS-friendly guidelines. Look for templates specifically designed for ATS compatibility or modify existing templates to ensure they meet ATS requirements.


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