ATS compliant CV template : professional ‘Highlight’ design in MS Word

The vast majority of ATS-friendly CVs you'll find today have very little in the way of design flair. Through some clever Microsoft Word tricks, this CV template changes all that. It has a fantastic range of style details including icons, but it doesn't use any graphics or fancy formatting that might interfere with ATS software. Sample information for an SEO Consultant.

CV template details:

  • CV ref: #201
  • File size: 21kb
  • File format: .docx (MS Word)
  • File name: ATS-friendly-highlight-CV.docx
  • Fonts required: Open Sans font family and Social media circled (both free, links below)
  • Price:
  • ATS CV: Yes*
  • User rating:
    ATS compliant CV template : professional 'Highlight' design in MS Word
    4.8 rating based on 12,345 ratings
    Overall rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 17 reviews.

About this CV template:

This CV template uses various clever techniques to create design elements that should not interfere with it being read by a machine. Despite its appearance, there's not a single table, text box or dividing line here - all the elements are simply paragraph styling. Even the social icons used in the footer are not graphics - they are simply a font and should therefore be harmlessly read as letters. Overall this stunning template makes a fantastic impression without compromising on design.

* Every effort has been made to design this CV template according to best practice so that your information can be read by ATS software correctly. However, all Applicant Tracking Systems are different and no guarantees can be offered.

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Text preview of this CV template:

This is a text-only preview - download the formatted Word file using the link above.


234, The Avenue, Sherwood, Nottingham, NG5 1DA / Web:

Personal statement

I am a competent SEO with 6+ years of industry experience and proven results. During my time at two busy marketing agencies I have honed my skills in on-page and off-page SEO, producing excellent results for start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. I am confident with reporting both remotely and via face-to-face client meetings. I am looking for a full-time position in a full-service agency.


Content planning and writing /  Link building and outreach / Social media  / Setting up, managing and reporting on PPC campaigns  / Competitor research  / Keyword research  / Making adjustments for site speed  / Intermediate HTML/CSS / Producing website audits  / Setting up WordPress

Work history

SEO Consultant  /  Amazing SEO Agency

April 2016 – date

My current role includes compiling technical audits for client websites, prioritising findings and working with in-house developers to get actions implemented, monitoring the health of client websites, reporting on SEO performance, keyword research and gap analysis, uploading and optimising content, auditing clients’ backlink profiles and updating disavow files where agreed.

Key achievement:

  • Creation of piece of content for Client F achieved 2,576 social shares and 17,499 visits in 2 weeks. Currently the client has attained 246 links for this piece, many of which are high authority.

SEO Assistant  /  Super SEO Agency

January 2013 – March 2016

In this busy role I implemented SEO strategies for small clients, optimising pages to increase their organic traffic and conversions. I researched and created effective metadata for client products to maximise search performance. I also worked with the web and marketing team to create and update SEO-friendly content, and implement marketing strategies.

Key achievement:

  • Optimising Client G’s website resulted in an increase in traffic of 34% over 1 month.


CIM Marketing Leadership Programme  /  Level 7 (Advanced)

April 2017 – April 2019

This master’s level programme taught me to turn business challenges and disruption into opportunities through an understanding of key influences in an organisation’s overall strategy, and to contribute to board decisions and become a leader of change.


April 2015 – April 2017

This programme (equivalent to an undergraduate degree) provided me with the competence needed to implement the latest digital strategies, to master digital channels and deliver the ultimate digital customer experience.


April 2013 – April 2015

This certificate provided me with a thorough understanding of product and brand management, and what influences customer behaviour, allowing me to devise integrated marketing communication strategies that enrich the customer experience and deliver customer value.


September 2011 – June 2013

English (B), Maths (B), Design and technology (B), Physics (B)

Hobbies and interests

I am a keen reader and when I’m not working, you’ll find me somewhere on the side of a hill with my nose in a book. I’m also a keen violinist and meet with the local orchestra three times a week, performing typically 3 or 4 times a year.

I enjoy going to the gym and jogging, taking part in two or three half-marathons a year for various charitable causes.


Jane Clarke, SEO Department Manager, Amazing SEO Agency / 01949 123456

Jo Smith, SEO Department Manager, Super SEO Agency /  01949 345678

Template details:

This is a highly attractive ATS compliant CV template with some superb styling details applied at paragraph and font level. The template has been specifically designed to pass through filtering software, commonly known as ATS. Although no CV is ever 100% guaranteed to pass through any computer software used by a company, we have strived to make it almost a guarantee.
Here is page two of this super free CV template:

ATS friendly highlight CV template - second page

For this CV template you’ll need:

  • Open Sans font family:
  • Social media circled:

What is ATS software?

ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System. It is a piece of software used by large companies (such as Fortune 500) to automatically ‘read’ large quantities of CVs. When a company as large as Google advertise for a job, they will of course receive too many applications to read them all. This is why the use of an ATS has become more popular in recent years, due to its ability to filter the candidates.

The ATS will make judgements as to an applicant’s suitability for a particular position. However, it is well known that ATS software can occasionally overlook good candidates. This is simply because the software is unable to properly parse the CV and determine the applicant’s suitability 100% of the time.

We design our ATS-friendly CV templates with a view to maximising the ability for the software to filter through the CV. In addition, you should provide the CV in a readable format (doc/docx) and ensure you have properly implemented the correct keywords and information required from the job specification (see our guides below).

Disclaimer: There are many different types of ATS software on the market. Like every other provider of ATS-friendly templates, we cannot guarantee that every single system will be able to read our templates without issue. However, our ATS-friendly templates follow the principles of ATS-friendly design. For example, not including graphics, tables, columns, or text boxes. Essentially, any elements that may make it difficult for the system to understand have been removed.

How an ATS compliant CV template can pass through an ATS

One of the most important aspects to consider when trying to pass through ATS is the use of keywords. Study the job advert closely to see what keywords have been used, and try and match those on your CV.

” Use keywords that are relevant to the job posting that you’re applying for, and that were mentioned in the job posting.”

~ Kelly Services

Keywords can relate to anything which has been specifically used by the hiring manager. For instance, here’s a short extract from a job advert for a role as an Accountant. We have highlighted the important keywords which you could use within a CV:

Managing the weekly invoicing process of product funding, lump sums and overrider income.

Newly qualified or passed finalists (CIMA/ACA/ACCA) preferred.

Advanced excel skills are essential.

Previous experience with SQL is advantageous.

By using any of the keywords highlighted above you are making it much easier for the hiring manager to see that you have the right skills and qualifications. Keywords instantly grab the attention of the reader and provide a better chance of getting an interview.

Using the right keywords are even more essential when applying to a company using ATS. Certain keywords and phrases will have been entered into the tracking software for the filtering system. Your goal is to match the keywords and phrases to ensure it passes through safely.

For more information on ATS software, see our guides:

6 thoughts on “ATS compliant CV template : professional ‘Highlight’ design in MS Word”

    • Hi Simon – we simply don’t use any of the elements that are thought to upset ATS software. The design elements are achieved through paragraph styling and (in the case of the social media icons), fonts – rather than graphics/images. This ensures the CV is all ‘text’ so the system shouldn’t have any issue with scanning it if our other advice is followed (such as sending in .doc / .docx format). Please be aware that there are lots of different systems so like every other site, we cannot absolutely guarantee the template will pass through every one, but nobody can guarantee that.

    • Not yet fortunately – it’s just the large companies using it right now. If you want to send a more creative CV, you can always call up the HR department to check if ATS is used to be safe.


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