ATS-proof CV: simple template in Word format (Legal Secretary example content)

A glance at this slick CV template will leave you wondering how it can possibly be ATS-friendly. However, the subtle style details are added in such a way that they won't interfere with applicant tracking system software, allowing you to make a great first impression without compromising on style. Set over two pages, this template uses soft grey headers and simple chunky dividers to divide up your information, with lots of white space to ensure your details are easy-to-read.

CV template details:

  • CV ref: #200
  • File size: 19kb
  • File format: .docx (Microsoft Word format)
  • File name: ATS-friendly-simple-CV-template.docx
  • Fonts required: Open Sans font family (free, download from Google fonts)
  • Price:
  • ATS CV: Yes*
  • User rating:
    ATS-proof CV: simple template in Word format (Legal Secretary example content)
    4.6 rating based on 12,345 ratings
    Overall rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 31 reviews.

About this CV template:

* 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:

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Kerry Brown | Legal Secretary

25, The Cottage, Park Lane, Newthorpe, Nottinghamshire NG1 234

01949 123456 | | Twitter: @kerrybrown | LinkedIn: @kerrybrown

– Personal statement –

I am a competent Legal Secretary with 4 years of experience working in busy Private Client Departments. My audio and copy typing is fast and accurate (83 wpm and 43 wpm respectively). In addition I have experience across a whole range of typical support duties from diary management and organising meetings to drafting letters and taking instructions. I am looking for a full-time permanent role at a medium to large sized firm.

– Work history –

Legal Secretary (maternity cover)

Browns & Co Solicitors | March 2018 – date

In this role I provide secretarial and administrative support to two fee earners in the Wills and Probate department. My responsibilities include audio and copy typing, dealing with both new and existing clients professionally, managing the diary, setting up new files and sending completed files to store.  I also drafted Wills in accordance with the fee earners’ instructions. All duties are carried out in accordance with the Solicitors’ Code of Conduct.

Legal Secretary (temporary)

Jones & Co Solicitors | February 2017 – March 2018

In this role I was a temporary floating secretary across the Private Client and Conveyancing departments, covering three peoples’ absence and prioritising my own workload. I was required to provide excellent client care through face-to-face, email and telephone communications, and to produce documentation as required. All work had to be completed ‘house style’ with a large focus on quality and presentation. I also occasionally took instructions from new clients for sales, purchases and remortgages, and carried out simple legal research.

Legal Secretary (temporary)

Smith & Co Solicitors | June 2015 – January 2017

Initially a 6 month position, I continue providing cover in this role due to prolonged absences in the team. Supporting the Private Client department, I drafted Wills, documents and letters in accordance to the fee earner’s instructions and additionally carried out typical administrative duties. I also took instructions from clients for the conveyancing team from time to time and sent out terms of business letters on behalf of the fee earners.

– Education –

Level 3 Diploma for Legal Secretaries

CILEx Law School | June 2017

This qualification was attained by completing:

Unit 320/321 Legal Word Processing

Unit 322 Business Skills in the Legal Environment

Unit 323 Proofreading in the Legal Environment (maternity


Redhill Academy | September 2013 – June 2015

English (C), Maths (C), Art (C), Geography (C)


Redhill Academy | September 2011 – June 2013

English (B), Maths (B), Art (B), Geography (C), Biology (C), Physics (C), Design & Technology (C), Music (C)

– Skills –

  • Fast and accurate audio typing (83 wpm) and copy typing (43 wpm)
  • Intermediate user of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Law Ware, Leap and Eclipse CMS
  • Ability to draft letters and correspondence accurately and to use templates independently
  • Ability to take instructions from new clients (conveyancing)
  • Ability to carry out basic legal research
  • Ability to book appointments and manage a diary
  • Ability to open and close files, send files for storage and retrieve files and documents

– Hobbies and interests –

When I’m not at work, I love hiking with my husband in the Derbyshire Dales, or going for a swim. I’m also a keen rower and take part in several contests throughout the year.

– References –

Charles Brown – Partner, 01332 123456

Browns & Co Solicitors | 123 High Street, New Meadow, Derby DE1 234

Lucy Jones – Partner, 01332 234567

Jones & Co Solicitors | 256 High Street, New Meadow, Derby DE1 456

Template details:

Overall this is a very slick two-page ATS proof CV template* that makes great use of space and some simple Microsoft Word features to add subtle style details, without affecting the document’s readability.

Here’s page two of this super smart simple ATS-proof CV template:

ATS friendly simple CV template - page 2
* Disclaimer: There is a wide range of ATS software out there, and like every other website offering ATS-friendly templates, we are not able to guarantee that every single ATS package will be able to scan our templates without problems. However, our ATS-proof CV templates follow good ATS-friendly design principles: for example, they do not contain tables, columns, graphics, text boxes or other elements that could make it hard for a system to interpret the contents of the CV.

More information on writing an ATS-proof CV:

To find out more about ATS software, check out our articles:

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Completing your ATS-proof CV template : advice and tips

Now you’ve found a super CV template, it’s time to write a killer CV to earn you those all important interviews. Writing a CV that stands out from the rest of the competition is what every job seeker aims for. But what if your CV makes a big impact on the HR manager, but for all the wrong reasons?

Employers are often overwhelmed with the amount of job applications they receive, and have to make quick decision on whom to shortlist for an interview. The recruitment manager will have a checklist which they will use to see who has the right skills, qualifications and even experience. What they don’t expect or want to see is a mistake – not even one!

CV mistakes come in various different forms – here are 6 of the most common CV mistakes to avoid:

1. Sending the wrong file 

You’d be surprised at how often the HR manager opens up an email only to find that the attached file isn’t a CV, a résumé, a cover letter, or anything related to a job application at all.

The applicant has accidentally sent through another file from their computer by mistake. The manager may decide to reply and ask them to try again, but with so many emails to get through and a busy schedule ahead, you may not hear back from them.

Emails may also be filtered through a recruitment agency. So the time it would take to contact them and then contact you could mean you’re too late to make it to the scheduled interviews.

If you’re careless enough to send the wrong file it could mean you are a careless person in general. Employers like to get the feeling that a potential candidate is on the ball and focused on the task in hand. This is clearly not a very good start.

2. Sending an out-of-date ATS-proof CV 

With so many years of service you’d be forgiven for having numerous copies of old CVs lying around. If your desktop or filing cabinet is littered with old and out of date copies of your CV, then consider having a clear out.

You only ever really need to keep just the one copy, which can be used to update when necessary. If you keep more than one you run the risk of sending an old version to the employer. This brings with it a whole list of potential mistakes – employment gaps, irrelevant skills and experience, spelling mistakes, and much more.

Although we recommend having just one master copy of your CV, there is also the opportunity to create a few different versions depending on who you apply too. We would always advise that every job seeker custom writes their CV based on the employer. This means that if you are applying to 5 different roles, you should create 5 different CVs.

Tailoring your CV to each role creates a lot of advantages. For more information on how to do this, we have the perfect guide called ‘How to tailor your CV’.

3. Including spelling and/or grammatical errors 

One of the most common mistakes a job seeker makes on their CV is poor spelling or grammar – or even both. When writing only two pages you’d be expected to come up with something completely error free.

Creating a CV should be a patient and thoughtful process, with lots of creativity and focus upon how to ‘wow’ the employer. A spelling mistake can show a clear lack of attention to detail, and will not impress even the lenient of bosses.

To prove just how problematic a spelling or grammatical error can be on a CV, here’s a great article from the Independent which shows that up to two-thirds of applications contain spelling mistakes: The worst mistake you can make when writing a CV.

4. Poor presentation 

There are lots of different aspects which go into making a well presented CV. From the font style and size, to the subheadings and the sections – everything matters. If your CV isn’t easy to navigate, it will not matter how qualified you are for the role.

The reader needs to be able to quickly see that you have the skills they’re looking for. But creating a CV which is perfectly laid out with all the right sections is only the start. The font style and size you choose should look professional and be easy to read. Don’t go for anything too creative and stick with the most common fonts for such an important document – Calibri, Times New Roman, Arial or Georgia are all good choices.

Your choice of layout will come down to which you feel is the most appropriate for the role, and how it showcases your qualifications. For more help on which CV template layout to choose, please visit our main templates page for inspiration. They are free to download and you can also edit them to suit your needs.

5. Failing to include employment dates 

Whilst most CVs don’t actually fail to state the dates of employment, more fail to provide accurate dates. In any case, whether you neglect to provide an accurate timeline or even no timeline at all, your application will struggle to impress based on this one mistake.

Without any dates the HR manager is not going to have an indication of your length of service. A mistake as large and as obvious as this could cause some concern, and with suspicions raised as to whether you meant to do this or not, you are already setting the seed of doubt in the minds of the employer.

If your dates are inaccurate it could mean your work history contains gaps. This is the more common error to make, especially if the job seeker has a huge list of previous jobs spanning many years. Any kind of lengthy employment gap will again create a suspicious mind. Where you out of work for that period of time? What were you up to? Where you actually looking for work?

6. Failing to explain employment gaps 

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a seamless timeline when it comes to their work history. Although employers are generally more concerned with your overall experience, a gap could create doubt.

If your employment gap is only a month, you would usually be fine to not worry too much about it on your CV. If a previous role ends in July and picks up again in August or September, this wouldn’t usually attract any negative attention. You could however still decide to explain this gap in your cover letter if you so wish.

Any lengthier gaps need to be explained so the employer has all the facts.

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