ATS-Friendly CV Templates

If you want to apply to a rather large company, software called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) will most likely be in use. Recruiters utilize ATS to streamline the recruiting process by storing, tracking, and filtering job applications based on their relevance. With all the tools Wozber has ready to boost your chances of success, you will write relevant content from start to finish and present it in the most ATS-friendly format. So jump in with any ATS-friendly CV template you like and write an ATS-optimized CV right away, entirely for free.

ATS CV Format

After attaching your CV to a job application form, an ATS parses (reads) the file and tries to automatically prefill the fields such as contact information, location, education, and others most important for the employer. In that way, recruiters using an ATS can store all the main data points about candidates uniformly and find the required details more easily.

To make your CV possible for an ATS to parse, it has to be machine-readable, or as commonly known, have an ATS-friendly CV format.

ATS providers can implement CV parsing in different ways, but there are two most popular techniques usually in use:

By using more advanced solutions such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR) – first, converting a CV to image, then using AI-driven techniques to determine different types of information by its placement on the paper and other distinctive features, and only after knowing document structure finally extracting the text.

CVs with a clear structure are easier to parse and guarantee correct results regardless of the parsing techniques used. There are a few essential properties that produce a well-rounded ATS CV format.

One-Column Layout

Also known as a layout without columns. There might be no problems for the most modern systems using the latest OCR techniques to determine separate columns of information. However, an ATS that uses older approaches will probably mesh all the text together and turn your well-prepared CV into gibberish. For example, if one side of the CV lists your experience and the other one skills – an ATS will be reading from left to right, line by line, and joining any text that comes in between, completely messing up the information flow. The one-column layout ensures that there won't be any such issues for any parsing techniques.

Chronological CV Format

There are multiple ways to provide your story within your CV. The most common format is chronological, which lists all your held positions and gained education in reverse chronological order, providing the newest entries first. And there are also less popular formats, such as functional or skills-based, usually chosen by job seekers with less experience. Applicant Tracking Systems are built to look for information in chronological order, so you should write your ATS-compliant CV that way too. Recruiters almost unanimously prefer this format because it tells your career progression linearly and provides a glimpse into how you've become the specialist you're today.

Common Headings

While parsing CVs, Applicant Tracking Systems usually search for common headings to distinguish information blocks: Contact Information, Experience, Education, Certificates, Skills, Languages, and Summary. So, if you name your sections too creatively, like "Where I've made new friends", an ATS will probably not be able to understand it. Recruiters prefer the well-known headings too because it's so much easier to go through such structured CVs quickly.

Clear Typography Hierarchy

The ATS-compliant CV headings should open new segments by distinctive visual properties like font size and weight. In other words, you should use larger font sizes for titles and smaller ones for content. It's easier for ATS and recruiters to read your CV and break up the content when the typography properties indicate its hierarchy.

Proper Spacing

There are so many myths trying to convince cranking all your CV content into a single page no matter what. Do that without a thought, and you might sacrifice its readability badly – not only for a recruiter reading it but for an ATS as well. Modern systems relying on the OCR look for visual indicators that separate content into segments, just like human eyes would do. When you use proper spacing between the content, it's obvious what text belongs to which CV part, and it's much easier for the ATS parser to make the right choice. Excellent readability is one of the most important goals of any CV.

No Background Colors

If an ATS uses OCR, background colors with inverted text might add difficulties to the CV parsing. It depends on how the system is set up – if the image it first creates to read the text from the document is converted into greyscale or not, and if the resulting contrast is enough to differentiate text elements. On the other hand, there is no difference for parsers not using OCR if the document includes background colors since ATS won't read such visual parameters. In most cases, background coloring won't be a problem, but it would be best to avoid backgrounds to ensure your CV supports the broadest range of ATS implementations.

ATS-Friendly Fonts

You are safe if your text doesn't look like a creative brochure. There are common myths that you should always use Times New Roman and similar fonts, but these are outdated recommendations from people who don't understand how an ATS parsing actually works. As long as all letters in the text are easily distinguishable from each other and the appearance resembles regular text, there will be no problem.

PDF, DOCX, or TXT

The file format you should use ultimately depends on what file extensions the ATS supports. Companies usually indicate what files you can include in their job ads or in a job application form itself. Though 99.9% of the time, PDF is the default format you should always choose. It will guarantee that your CV looks the same on any device recruiters use, and if you base your content on the ATS-friendly CV format in general, there will be no problems for an ATS to parse it.

Content to Include

An ATS will parse your CV and prefill the essential information into the job application form: Contact Details, Location, Experience, Education, Certificates, Skills, and Languages. Those are the primary sections capturing all the required aspects of your expertise. Of course, not all job applications will ask you for this information, but the ones that do will have a smooth parsing. Recruiters reading your CV will also appreciate the standard structure. When filling in the content, always focus on its relevance and include only the information correlating with the specific job requirements.

Content to Ignore

Applicant Tracking Systems usually skip some information to safeguard companies from recruiting discrimination: your photo, birth of day, marital status, and if a job application language makes it possible – your gender. You can be sure no one will read about your hobbies, so you should leave out such things as a potential topic for a job interview instead. Since an ATS will ignore those details, recruiters will too. Therefore, save your CV space and concentrate on the content you must include.

Use ATS CV Scanner to Boost Your Interview Chances

Choosing an ATS-Friendly CV Template is just the beginning. What goes into your CV has most significance in landing a job interview. The ATS CV Scanner, together with all the rest of Wozber CV ATS Optimisation tools, makes CV writing super easy and ensures you get the most out of your CV.

Wozber ATS CV Scanner
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Once you a have job position that interests you, copy its job requirements into Wozber ATS Scanner. Wozber then will list all the job requirements linked with the specific CV sections, indicate how well your CV matches each job requirement, and show you all the keywords that a recruiter might use within the ATS scanning your CV. It works as a reverse-engineered ATS built to openly share with you what recruiters will expect from your CV. Combine an ATS CV format and content optimized for ATS, and you will have a job-wining CV.

Free ATS CV Builder

Wozber integrates all the moving pieces into a single platform so you can have a smooth ATS CV writing experience from start to finish. Build your ATS CV based on the best practices step by step, easily match job requirements, track your progress, and present your career story in the ATS-friendly format – that and more, all in one single package for your ultimate convenience and job hunt success.

ATS CV Format Example
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