There are a number of considerations to weigh before deciding on a resume format and template, like your field or industry, depth of work experience, and skill set. Today, job seekers also need their resume to be compatible with applicant tracking systems (ATS). An ATS resume template can be the difference between getting noticed and slipping through the cracks.
Why you need an ATS-friendly resume
An expertly written resume complete with a sleek design and optimized resume keywords could still fall short if the formatting isn’t ATS compliant.
When you upload your resume into an ATS as part of your job application, the ATS then parses out the text of your resume to make the it searchable for a recruiter or import the information into a digital candidate profile. If an ATS can’t accurately parse your resume, your chances of getting picked for an interview are low– even if you’re perfectly qualified.
That’s because your resume content is garbled or your candidate profile is incomplete based on poor formatting. And if your profile doesn’t reflect that you’re a strong match for the job, you won’t rank as a viable candidate.
What makes a resume ATS compliant?
There are a number of factors that go into the optimal ATS resume template or format. For example: many ATS don’t know how to handle tables or images; correctly sequencing your work experience information increases parsing accuracy; docx and pdf file types work better than others.
Our team at Jobscan has conducted first hand research and reverse-engineered dozens of applicant tracking systems, from the biggest companies in the business (like Taleo) to the up-and-comers (like Greenhouse) to learn exactly what works and what doesn’t.
Free ATS resume templates
Through this testing and research, we’ve discovered which resume formatting breeze through ATS and which can cause candidates to hit a snag. Based on that knowledge, we have created 20 resume templates that are ATS compatible. These Each ATS resume template is already formatted. All you have to do is customize them with your own information.
In order to maximize your chances of landing a job interview, you have to be sure that an ATS can read your resume. Using one of these ATS-friendly resume templates means you can apply without worrying about slipping into the resume black hole.
Once you’ve found a template you like, use Jobscan’s resume optimization tool to make double check that you’re not forgetting any key skills. Jobscan compares your resume to the job description to show which skills and keywords you’re missing along with a bevy of other helpful ATS and recruiter checks.
Learn more about ATS-friendly resumes
Versions of this article were published in 2015 and 2016 by Trista Winnie. It was rewritten and updated for 2018.