The good old days of filling out a simple application and getting a job are gone, especially if you’ve been working more than two or three years at jobs over minimum wage. 

Today’s corporate application starts with an ATS (applicant tracking system). While you might be high enough up the ladder that you can get straight to a human being, everyone who applies online, especially through job search sites, goes through an ATS.

Making your resume ATS-friendly is more than just a nice thing to do; it’s a requirement to getting hired in the 21st century. 

Here are a few guidelines to creating an ATS-friendly resume that will get your resume in front a human being:

Job titles – Start by including the job titles that the recruiter is likely to use. Since you should change your resume for every position, include the actual words that the job ad or the recruiter uses when you speak to them. Put the job title in your resume headline.

Skills – Skills that are part of your job that require training and study, like marketing, Microsoft programs, customer service, and more should be on your resume. The ATS is going to scan your resume for those keywords.

Always adapt your resume to the job description you’re trying for. If you send the same resume out to everyone, you’ll likely find yourself not getting a lot of calls back. 

An ATS operates a lot like Google. It works on keywords. Make sure the right keywords are in the resume and you’ll get past the machines and to a human.


ATSs will force all resumes to look the same. Headings are the key to making sure the ATS knows that you have a complete resume. 

  • Work History
  • Work Experience
  • Experience
  • Professional Experience
  • Professional History

Not using standard headings can confuse the ATS. It won’t know if you’ve included the necessary information. 

No Fancy Stuff

It can be tempting to use headers, footers, tables, columns, and other formatting that make your resume look better. Unfortunately, the ATS can’t read them correctly. The data will be stripped out and appear scrambled. The ATS will get confused and not know what to do with the information. 


Look for ATS scanners online

Look for an ATS scanner online that will tell you how well your resume matches the job description. There are several that give you a simple report telling you how well your resume matches the job description. 

Knowing how an ATS will read your resume can go a long way to making sure you’re going to get to the next stage. 

There is a faster, easier way to do all of this. Submit your resume to an executive search company, an employment agency that can help you find work.