Master the Art of Crafting an ATS-Friendly, FAANG-Ready Software Engineer Resume

May 22, 2023
Guest profile photo

In today's competitive job market, it's crucial for Software Engineers to understand and navigate the intricacies of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). These software tools are widely used by employers, including big tech firms like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google, to streamline the recruitment process and efficiently scan through a large volume of resumes. In this blog, we will explore the world of ATS and provide valuable insights and strategies to help you optimize your software engineer resume for ATS success.

EXA Newsletter

Why reinvent the wheel?

Exaltitude newsletter is packed with advice for navigating your engineering career journey successfully. Sign up to stay tuned!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Thanks to those who attended our recent talk, "How to write an ATS-friendly, FAANG-ready Software Engineer resume." If you missed any key points, would like to refresh your memory, or didn’t get a chance to attend the talk, here is a RECAP!

Why am I not getting called in for interviews despite applying for internships? Could it be due to my resume not being parsed correctly by ATS?

Let's first discuss the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which is software used by employers to scan resumes and manage the recruitment process. ATS systems are vital in screening out unqualified applicants and highlighting qualified ones.

ATS is a common practice in hiring, and most big tech companies use it. While some small startups may not have implemented ATS yet, most companies rely on it. According to research, on average, each job offer attracts 250 resumes, and approximately 70-90% of resumes get filtered out by ATS. This means only about 62 resumes reach a human recruiter. Recruiters typically spend just 6 seconds scanning a resume, and if they find it appealing, they'll likely check your LinkedIn profile. 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn to evaluate candidates (Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report 2016).

Optimizing your resume for ATS is essential to improve your chances of getting noticed. This involves using the right keywords, formatting it properly, and ensuring it meets the requirements for passing the initial screening. We've recently launched the pre-order for our ebook, the Ultimate Resume Handbook, which extensively covers ATS formats.

What type of projects should I be adding to my resume as a career changer?

When showcasing your projects on a resume as a career changer, it's crucial to focus on projects that employers will find exciting and relevant. Instead of including a mishmash of random projects, customize your resume to highlight the most impactful ones. Many resumes from engineers have unrelated projects, similar to a restaurant offering Japanese sushi, Chinese hot pot, American burgers, and Italian pizza. Such a restaurant wouldn't appeal to discerning customers.

Employers are looking for candidates with specific qualifications and experiences that match their needs. By tailoring your resume to showcase the most relevant projects, you present yourself as a focused and highly qualified candidate who understands the employer's requirements.

How can candidates without prior experience showcase their skills and land their first software development role?

Landing a software development role without prior experience can be challenging. One way to overcome this hurdle is by gaining practical experience through volunteering. Consider offering your skills to local charities or businesses that could benefit from your expertise. You can build websites, assist with database management, or even develop applications for organizations in need. While you may not be getting paid, the hands-on experience you gain will be valuable and can be showcased in the professional experience section of your resume.

Employers value practical experience, and by taking the initiative to work on projects, you demonstrate your commitment, enthusiasm, and skills to potential employers. This can open doors to future opportunities and help you land your first professional software development role.

What should be the main focus when writing a resume to be consumed by an algorithm? Should it prioritize skills or provide extensive descriptions and experiences?

The main focus when writing a resume for an algorithm is not solely listing skills but showcasing work through impactful bullet points in the experiences section. Instead of simply mentioning skills, emphasize the outcomes and impact of your work. ChatGPT prompts can help you rewrite your bullet points to quantify the impact and make them more impressive. By presenting your work in a results-oriented manner, you demonstrate your abilities and achievements effectively. 

How can candidates gain experience without prior professional experience?

For candidates without prior professional experience, volunteering for projects with local charities or businesses can be a valuable strategy. This allows you to gain practical experience you can showcase on your resume, demonstrating real-life experiences and acquired skills. Employers value practical experience, and volunteering can be a great way to kick-start your software engineering career, even without prior experience.

How should work experience as a contractor via a contracting company be presented?

When presenting work experience as a contractor via a contracting company, it is recommended to use the main contracting company as the umbrella header, with clients listed as subheaders. This format effectively showcases career progression, achievements, adaptability, and growth throughout your journey. 

Whether you were promoted or switched teams, maintaining consistency in the presentation is key. The ATS Resume template provided in the Ultimate Resume Handbook can guide you with the exact format.


Crafting an ATS-friendly, FAANG-ready Software Engineer resume requires optimizing your resume for ATS, showcasing relevant and impactful projects, focusing on quantifiable outcomes in your experience section, gaining practical experience through volunteering, and effectively presenting work experience as a contractor. We hope you find these key takeaways helpful as you navigate your software engineering career. 

What’s Next?

Don't forget to join us for our next talk on “LinkedIn Profile for Software Engineers: Optimizing Profiles for Job Search” to further enhance your job search strategies.

See you soon!

Exaltitude newsletter is packed with advice for navigating your engineering career journey successfully. Sign up to stay tuned!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Read the latest...

Copyright @Exaltitude