Electronic Résumés

In today’s job market, 90% of Fortune 500 companies use electronic systems, known as applicant tracking systems (ATS) to review and screen résumés. 

Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)

ATS software comes under many brand names (like Taleo and Brass Ring) and is used by companies to electronically track job candidates, review résumés and begin their selection process. Generally, when you are applying online and submitting your résumé electronically it is going through an applicant tracking system. And the software will do the initial screening, not a person. That is why a clean and neat résumé is so important. 

In addition, be clear about your skills. The system will be using a keyword type of search to review your résumé for specific qualifications. For instance, if an employer is looking for Microsoft Excel and you only use the words Microsoft Office, then your résumé would not be included if they do a keyword search on Excel.

Electronic Résumé Tips

Document Type


  • .doc
  • .docx
  • Txt
  • Rtf

Not Recommended

  • PDF
  • HTML
  • Open Office
  • Images
  • Test your document by converting it into plain text (.txt) to be sure that it stays formatted correctly
  • Always opt for uploading your document if that is an option (rather than copying and pasting it)


  • Make sure this information is first, at the top of the page (but not in the header)
  • You can bold it
  • Do not use any special characters or any extra spacing between letters
  • Do not include your title, certification or degree with your name. For example, if you are a CPA then list that after your heading in a headline or summary. Do not include it with your name because the ATS will read CPA as your last name

Date Format

  • Date format should include a two-digit month and four-digit year (MM/YYYY) or the month as a word with a four-digit year format (September 2019)
  • Do not use: 09/19, September ’19
  • Use the same format throughout the whole document

Body of Document - Format


  • Limit your résumé to one page
  • Keep it clear and easy to read; include plenty of white space
  • Use generic font and font size (Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman, 10-14 pt.)
  • Use one font style throughout the résumé

Do Not

  • No headers, footers, or page numbers
  • No pictures, graphics or templates in body
  • Avoid differentiators (colors, special formatting)
  • Avoid using tables, it can become jumbled

Body of Document - Content


  • Stick to standard headings (Education, Experience, Skills, Activities, Leadership, etc.)
  • When writing your experience and listing the jobs you have held, use the following order: Your position, date worked, company name, then job description or skills
  • Use bulleted statements that highlight quantitative accomplishments and leadership skills
  • Use standard symbols for bullets, not fancy ones
  • Type the full company name out and use proper abbreviation (Inc. or Co.)
  • Tailor each résumé to that specific job posting
  • Use key phrases and keywords that were in the job description
  • Include buzzwords, industry keywords and company jargon
  • List computer software, technical skills, languages, etc. that are relevant to the position
  • Research the company and incorporate their values into your résumé and cover letter
  • Be sure there are absolutely no spelling errors

Do Not

  • Do not include the company’s full address, only use the city and state
  • Do not abbreviate any titles you have held (ex. Use Manager not Mgr.)
  • Do not include irrelevant information or experiences
  • Do not state everything you ever accomplished, leave out hobbies and classes
  • Do not include an objective unless extremely specific and compelling
  • Do not include any references unless they are requested specifically

Automatic Responses

Once you have completed your online application or submitted your résumé electronically, you should receive a quick and automatic response indicating your application was received.

Check your junk mail as an automatic emails from the Applicant Tracking System might go there.