A Guide to Making an ATS-Compliant Resume

Candidate shaking a recruitment officer’s hand
Regardless of how you rank Faith, Family, & Health, Career will always land within the top 4 in terms of Quality of Life.

To land the very best job possible, nothing is more important than a properly composed resume to secure that 1st interview.

The good news is talent acquisition trends are changing and there are more job opportunities than ever before.

We are currently experiencing unprecedented times, with Demand for top talent far exceeding Supply.

Companies are finding it increasingly difficult to hire & retain exceptional people. There are currently so many options for highly qualified individuals, they are clearly winning in the incredibly competitive war for strong candidates.

The table is set for a fantastic feast…you just need to make sure that your resume reflects “you” in the very best light possible.

***Needless to say, only list experience that is 100% verifiable. You must be able to substantiate everything that you list on your CV. If not, it will simply turn into a colossal waste of time for all involved. ***

Keep it honest, but also make sure that you are highlighting specific experience that ties back to the opportunity. Recruiters and their researchers will quantify this opportunity-specific information to determine which candidates are the closest match for their need and then move them onto the next step in the screening process.

It’s a real shame when a qualified candidate does not get in the running because they aren’t savvy understanding the effective methods or the algorithms and various techniques used by today’s corporate world to find the right candidate for the right job.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are now commonly used within companies with on-going hiring needs.

In short, Applicant Tracking Systems are software with the capability to scan thousands of candidates’ resumes to find the right match for an open position.

Squeezing in one last good deed before the end of the year, ISC’s team of executive recruiters have provided the following helpful list outlining the 5 most important items to include on an ATS friendly resume:


Make sure you list your name and current contact info! That includes your phone number, e-mail and your current location (CITY AND STATE).

It is absolutely shocking how many high-level executives fail to put their current location on their resumes. If your CV lacks this basic information, it prohibits the ATS from tracking the candidate, so the majority of ATS’s won’t even accept a resume without City & State identifiers!

We presume that some candidates don’t list their current location to indicate that they are flexible to relocate for the right opportunity. Ironically, this strategy typically prevents the CV from even entering the ATS because it cannot figure out how to file it.

The best way for a candidate to convey that they are open to relocation is to ensure your resume is ATS friendly. You can do so by including the above-mentioned information at the top of the document and listing Open to Relocation under the Name, Contact info & CURRENT LOCATION.


Another mistake that candidates often make is submitting their CV in a format that is not readable by ATS. Saving your CV to a PDF is the best way to maintain content without affecting the layout. Always use a PDF version of your resume when you’re applying for a job.


Another effective and easy way to create an ATS compliant resume is to use ready-made ATS-resume templates, that are readily available online If you do choose to use an ATS template from an on-line source, make sure to choose one that has been around for a long time, and has many positive reviews.


Keywords are essential when an ATS is searching or scanning a resume. Be sure to look up the job description beforehand so that you use specific keywords from the job post when applying.

*** The importance of doing this cannot be over-emphasized for truly strategic job hunting! ***

Candidate shaking a recruitment officer’s hand

Companies commonly use executive recruiters outside of the organization for high level, confidential searches.
Recruiters that have strong connections, specifically within your area of focus, are quite literally worth their weight in gold! Forging relationships with 1 or 2 industry-specific recruiters is a key step for all professionals who seek to align themselves with careers that position them for long-term growth.

But then again, we may be biased!

Since 1999, International Search Consultants has been matching up top talent with incredible opportunities with the best companies within the industries we serve.

Hiring Needs? Get in touch with us to build the best team for your organization!

For candidates, feel free to send in your resume for immediate and confidential consideration.

Find out more about our proven track record to get started. You can follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is President of International Search Consultants. You can reach Ann at 888-866-7276 or .

Jaami Clement is an Executive Recruiter with ISC & can be reached at or direct dial at 888-866-6625.