3 Resume Layouts That Get You Past ATS

Brandi Glass
5 min read
Three Resume Formats That Make It Past the ATS

Resumes are the documents that get you through a company’s door, allowing you to land an interview and, hopefully, a job.

However, many people do not format their resumes correctly, choosing layouts that look “nice” instead of those that function well. Even if you have the most eye-catching resume, it won’t make it to the recruiter or hiring manager’s hands if it isn’t formatted correctly.

Why Do I Still Need a Resume in 2022?

Your resume includes essential information about you that highlights your professional skills and work history. Hiring Managers use your CV to determine if you’re a good fit. They can tell a lot about you by looking at this document, and it’s easy to access later. However, that only happens if it makes it through their software.

With so many technological advances nowadays, some people assume that resumes aren’t necessary. Yet every job website asks you to input your information and then requires you to upload a resume. While it may seem unnecessary because you already entered the data, some applicants submit resume formats that don’t pass Applicant Tracking Systems.

Applicant Tracking Systems, or ATS, are software systems that allow Human Resources Departments to gather information about current and potential hires in one place. Companies use them to streamline the recruitment and sourcing process, making it easier for recruiters to find the best candidates for a position. However, these programs aren’t foolproof, and countless resumes don’t make it through because of their formatting.

Can I Use Any Resume Format I Like?

When choosing a resume format, it’s necessary to distinguish between what you believe looks nice and what won’t pass an ATS. For example, you may want to differentiate yourself between applicants, so you’ll choose a pre-made format that looks different than a traditional resume with tables, headers, sections and columns. Those resumes, while impressive-looking, rarely make it to a recruiter’s hands.

If you’re applying to a small or local business, you can email your resume or submit it onsite. However, most mid-size and large corporations use this software to manage the sheer volume of employees that come, go and apply in a given year. Although these systems continue to improve, they’re still imperfect and can’t read resumes with non-traditional formats.

What Resume Layouts Should I Avoid?

Some resume layouts don’t work as well as others. By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll have a better chance of passing an ATS system:

  • Don’t use tables, charts and graphs
  • Fancy and unusual fonts (Stick to the basics, like Calibri, Cambria or Arial
  • Avoid unnecessary animations, designs and graphics
  • Don’t use abbreviations or misspell primary keywords
  • Mind the spacing between words – they matter in the keyword search
  • Use long-form and short-form versions of your primary keyword
  • Only use standard bullet points and avoid checkmarks, boxes, and stars

Although it’s tempting to want to use a different, stylish or design-focused format, the resumes that pass ATS systems have more traditional layouts.

How Can I Properly Format my Resume?

You can build a resume yourself or save time and start a template with Rocket Resume. A well-formatted resume includes the basics such as a visible way to contact you, clean and no-nonsense lines, appropriate bullets, and a readable font. Regardless of your choice, avoid embellishments and “extras” that undermine your hard work because Applicant Tracking Systems are picky.

Does the Content of My Resume Matter?

It matters immensely. Although some reasons why the resume doesn’t make it through an Applicant Tracking System is because of formatting, content is also a significant concern. When a hiring manager wants to fill an open position, they look for keywords that narrow down their search. The more the keywords match, the likelier the candidate gets an interview.

Here are some tips to improve your resume’s content before uploading it to an ATS:

  • Read the job description well before you apply and use keywords that match your skills
  • Place your contact details outside of your resume’s header or footer
  • Don’t attach a format that the system cannot read, like a .jpg instead of a .docx or PDF
  • Don’t apply to multiple jobs within the same company unless necessary
  • Use the correct keywords that describe your talent, and avoid applying to positions if you don’t qualify
  • Triple-check for spelling mistakes and spacing issues
  • Use a Resume format that’s ATS-friendly

Never try to “game” the system, however tempting it seems. Avoiding the most common layout and content issues increases your chances of seamlessly passing through the ATS. Most ATS nowadays have better screens, and recruiters may block you from future applications if they notice a recurring pattern.

What Are the Best 3 Resume Layouts?

It’s time to talk about the three best resume outlines. Examples of layouts that we recommend at Rocket Resume are the Focal Point, Elegant, and Classic templates.

Focal Point: True to its name, the Focal Point Resume keeps you at the center of the document. Thanks to its clean and minimalist design, the layout doesn’t distract the eye, and it acts the same way with an ATS. Your skills and other relevant headlines come in larger font, and the emphasis is on the content.

Elegant: This format combines layout with content to create a softer-looking document that stands out among resume outline examples. It has a stylish and segmented design while simultaneously exuding a professional look. The Elegant layout highlights your name in the footer, keeping contact information below to minimize the chances of software missing it during the scan. The template also has distinct sections with a centered font highlighting the content.

Classic: The classic resume never disappoints, remaining one of the most popular types of resumes submitted to employers worldwide. With the classic resume, your content layout is in a traditional format, highlighting your professional summary at the top and going through your skills, education, and work history.

Regardless of your choice, remember that any resume layout from Rocket resume is ATS friendly. All you have to do is choose the one you like most and fill in the information. You’ll have a ready document with all the data and formatting requirements in just a few minutes. The choice of format depends on your taste and preference on how you want to showcase your content.

Where Can I Find the Best Resume Layouts?

Rocket Resume’s templates and layouts remove the guesswork of building a resume and passing an ATS without problems. Instead of worrying about whether the formatting works or whether the embellishments limit your visibility chances, all you need is our intuitive guide. You choose the template and layout you like, answer a few questions to get started, and you’ll have a solid resume ready in minutes.

Rocket Resume layouts are high-quality, easy to read and take much less to create than starting from scratch. You have all the tools you need to build your resume in minutes without hassle.

Are you ready to create a resume layout that passes through ATS without issues?

Start your resume today with Rocket Resume and receive a discount when you sign up for the first time.