ATS-friendly resume formats are those that prioritize work experience that’s relevant to the role. That means you can skip listing your university job as a cleaner because it doesn’t make sense for the position you’re applying for.
However, it’s not just ATS software that’s looking at your resume. There are also humans reading your application.
1. Use White Space
White space on your resume is important to keep your document looking neat and tidy. But it’s a fine balance. Too much white space can make the text look cluttered and hard to read, while too little may give the impression that your experience is not significant enough to fill an entire page.
Minimalist templates use white space to clearly define sections and make the document easy to read. Additionally, they avoid using bold or italics to emphasize information — which can confuse the reader and can even be read as spam by an applicant tracking system (ATS). Incorporating the best practices from resume examples can significantly improve your chances of landing your dream job.
2. Make It Easy to Read
A visually appealing layout can grab recruiters’ attention. Look for a template that balances aesthetics and professionalism, creating a design that stands out without overwhelming the page with images or distracting colors.
The most important thing is to make sure that your resume is easy to read. A minimalist template should have clear fonts and straightforward paragraphs, rather than using fancy icons or infographics. It should also use a reverse-chronological format, with your most recent job listed first.
Minimalist templates also avoid using tables or columns, which can get parsed by applicant tracking systems incorrectly. This makes them more likely to pass through ATS filters. It also makes it easier to edit for each job application. This is especially useful for people in more traditional jobs, like law or medicine.
3. Keep It Simple
A resume is a marketing document that should be as simple as possible. The recruiter or hiring manager has many jobseekers to review and they don’t have time for long stories.
This minimalist template is perfect for recent graduates who have little work experience. It allows them to downplay their lack of experience and compensate for it with their academic achievements and skills. It also makes them look confident.
4. Highlight Your Skills
If you want to stand out with a creative resume, consider using different fonts or colors for your header and text. For example, you could use dark grey or black to highlight key sections of your resume. You can also try a new layout, such as placing your contact information in the sidebar rather than in the top section.
Remember to avoid overstuffing your resume with keywords, as this can look spammy and make it difficult for hiring managers to read. Instead, include specific, relevant keywords that appear in the job description or title.
Another great way to highlight your skills is to use a skill bar, which is a newer style of resume section that makes it easy for hiring managers to spot your key abilities. This minimalist resume template uses bold bars to showcase your skills in an impactful, aesthetically appealing way.
5. Don’t Overdo It
Less is more when it comes to a minimalist resume. Forgo long lists of coursework, volunteer engagements, and publications unless customary in your industry or would make you stand out from other applicants. Limit your resume to a single page, especially in 2023, when recruiters spend less time reading than ever.
Don’t stuff your resume with keywords, either. This can look spammy and turn off hiring managers. Instead, strategically use words that are popular in your industry or align with job descriptions in an ATS.
Minimalist designs exude professionalism and focus on the essentials. They’re a great choice for both recent graduates and seasoned professionals. But remember, you still need to pay attention to the overall design of your resume to ensure its readable and optimized for recruiters.