REAL-WORLD TESTED JOB SEARCH
AND CAREER PLANNING STRATEGIES
Here is an ATS optimized resume sample. Below the resume, you'll see an explanation describing why certain formatting choices were made.
123 Any Street, Faketown, State, Zip Code
Administrative professional with seven years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Able to prioritize and manage conflicting demands. Exceptional technical skills including proficiency with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Prezi; type 80 words per minute.
ABC Organization Incorporated
2012 - present
XYZ Organization LLC
2008 - 2012
Another Organization LLC
2007 - 2008
Anytown Community Organization
2013 - present
Each piece of the contact information is on a single line and left justified. This format certainly doesn't look as attractive as a traditional resume written for human eyes, but it is simple and not likely to cause problems with the ATS.
There is no unexpected information in this section. If this job seeker was applying to a job that was far from her home, she might consider omitting her mailing address to avoid being screened out based on location.
First, notice that this heading (and all of the other headings) is typed in all capitals and bolded with a line break separating out each section. All of these cues help the ATS to understand we have reached a new section. Also, notice that all of the section headings are standard, and straightforward. It is important to avoid non-standard section heading on resumes written for ATS screening.
The profile lists the exact job title the job seeker is applying to, and it includes some relevant keywords. This job seeker would have researched keywords before writing this resume to ensure she was able to weave in plenty of relevant words and phrases that will likely be used to score resumes submitted for this job
The summary is written in bulleted point form, which makes it more readable for an ATS. This particular summary is fairly short, but it would be fine to include several more points in the list if adding those points helped show this person's full range of skills and experience and allowed her to add more relevant keywords to the resume.
The work experience is straightforward, and in reverse chronological order. Notice the way the employment information is organized. It is important to write your dates of employment after the company name and after your job title, otherwise the ATS may misinterpret the information. Also, notice the words "incorporated" and "LLC" are included after the company name. It is wise to use the full, formal company name on an ATS optimized resume because those "company words" help the software to understand that is the company name.
Again, the organization of this section is important. Ensure the dates come last when you set up your education information. The job seeker has not included any detailed information about her education. If adding some information about her course work allowed her to add more relevant skills, she could included that information in bulleted point form.
The recommendations for this section are the same as the previous two sections, ensure the dates are last, and look for opportunities to include relevant keywords in the description of your volunteer work. Please note that it is optional to include a section describing your volunteer work. Only add this information if it shows skills and experience that is relevant to the job you are seeking.
More articles from the ATS series:
What is an ATS Optimized Resume and Do You Really Need One?
Get the basics on applicant tracking systems. Understand what they are and which employers typically use them in their hiring procedures.
Applicant Tracking Systems and Human Readers
Why you need to use ATS formatting when the employer requires it, even though an ATS optimized resume is less reader-friendly to humans.
Resume Formatting for Applicant Tracking Systems
There are some very specific requirements for formatting your resume when it will be reviewed by an ATS. Here's how to format an ATS optimized resume.
Demystifying Resume Keywords and Phrases
Understand exactly how an ATS uses keywords to score resumes so you can write your own effective, keyword-rich content.
Researching Resume Keywords
How to research keywords so you have an excellent idea of what words and phrases will likely be used to score your resume.
Saving an Applicant Tracking System Optimized Resume
Here's how to save your ATS optimized resume to ensure it does not contain any special characters that could cause problems and it is saved in the format the employer requires.
My book, The Resume Writing Guide will give you step-by-step instructions for writing an effective resume optimized for human reviewers or ATS software.