Resume, ATS, Cover letter

Job Materials and the ATS


One of the most common mistakes computer science applicants make with their resumes is underestimating the ATS (Applicant Tracking System) and the importance of tailoring a resume for a specific job.


Since it is read by a robot and not a human, you must pay attention to the following:

  1. Make sure your resume is in an easy to read file format like .pdf, .txt, .docx. When in doubt stick with .pdf as this is pretty standard.
  2. Keep it simple. Avoid using fancy borders, weird bullets, word art, etc. These really don’t serve much of a purpose to a human reader anyway and could really confuse the ATS. There’s nothing wrong with having a simple Times New Roman resume like so
  3. Avoid pictures and graphics. ATS systems can’t really read graphics or pictures so if your resume contains screenshots, images, or anything that isn’t text based, the ATS will not be able to read it and whatever is in it will not help you. Type out the entire resume.

Cover Letter

Some companies still require a cover letter as a part of their applications, and in other cases, if it is not required then it might still be good to have one. The cover letter is a chance for you to give a recruiter some extra information about why you might be a good fit for a position that might not be as easy to convey in a bulleted resume. They show that you’re passionate about the job and have more than just programming skills.

  1. CICS UMass tips
  2. CMU Cover Letter
Photo by Bram Naus on Unsplash



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