So I have started putting my (LaTeX generated, classic thesis .cls file) resume out there in job applications and this one question has been bugging me. Are Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) able to read LaTeX generated resumes well? This question is inspired by this post on reddit.

From my understanding, ATS systems can be used to auto detect keywords in resumes that determine if the applicant makes it to later stages in the hiring process. However, when I upload my resume, the auto-complete feature (where the company's system extracts text from my resume to autofill the application) always does a terrible job of extracting the information. It makes me wonder if these systems have a hard time reading LaTeX generated resumes. Does anyone have experience with this?

  • Submit a pdf instead?
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Feb 21, 2023 at 21:48
  • My resume is a LaTeX generated pdf. Commented Feb 21, 2023 at 22:01
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    I encountered this problem some years ago when i was uploading my cv in MS Word into Oracle Taleo, which couldn't parse most of it properly, no matter what formatting I tried. I gave up. If you have the time to experiment / rrsearch, you can open the pdf file in MS Word, and then save it as Word document. Try tweaking various formatting in Word and uploading the Word document into various ATS systems, and write down what works or doesn't, then 1 try to repliacate it in LaTeX and pdf 2 write an article about it. Commented Feb 21, 2023 at 22:42
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    Do universities use ATSs and automated filtering for their hiring? I have never heard about it. If this practice is industry-only, this question is off topic here unfortunately. Commented Feb 21, 2023 at 23:36
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    As @FedericoPoloni comments... I've not heard of any use of ATS's and automatic filtering for faculty or postdoc or grad program hiring/admissions in academic math in the U.S. I'd be interested to hear whether this issue is ("already"?) arising in academe (e.g., in the U.S.)... Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 22:28

2 Answers 2


I think this might be a serious problem. Many students in STEM use latex and want to get a non-academic job.

Two issues I can think of are non-standard font encoding and the use of glyphs to get proper ligatures. My guess is \usepackage[T1]{fontenc} fixes the first and \input{glyphtounicode} fixes the second.

The safe thing is to bite the bullet and submit a Word document. To fit in. A sad state of affairs.


If an ATS software tries to parse your application the process can be roughly separated into two steps.

First it needs to extract the raw text from your pdf file. Depending on whether your pdf file was generated by Acrobate Writer, MS Word, LaTeX or some other method the internal structure of the pdf might be somewhat different but any not completely terrible pdf reader will get the text out of the pdf no matter how the pdf was generated.

Second it needs to transform the raw text into useful information and 'understand' it. This is hard for a software and the formatting of the document (a table, running text, different text boxes) can make this more or less difficult, depending on the specific software. Any ATS software might fail on your CV here but that has nothing to do with the fact that you used LaTeX but rather that they tried to use software for a task that was to difficult for their software. If that happens making the same CV with MS word or some other software won't change anything, but changing the formatting might.

  • I wonder, though, if, e.g., LaTeX's heavier use of digraphs and/or line-end hyphenation of words might confuse some parsers. Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 12:59
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    @DanielHatton If the software is working with a scan from a printout this could cause problems but in a purely digital document this shouldn't be an issue. Additionally for the kind of formatting typically used in CVs (say a list with bullet points) very few hyphenations should be used and in general LaTeX will respect that unless you tell it otherwise.
    – quarague
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 13:04
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    @quarage Maybe it's a weird choice of document class on my part (europecv), but I just checked my own LaTeX-generated PDF CV, and LaTeX has hyphenated about 16% of the line ends. Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 13:17
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    @DanielHatton I guess it was more about the formats commonly used in CVs. If your CV contains passages with paragraphs with multiple lines of text, then LaTeX will hyphenate at line ends. Personally, I would expect a CV to rather contain lots of short bullet points instead of a long block of text and short bullet points will usually not get hyphenated.
    – quarague
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 13:22
  • (Maybe it's not the document class so much as my desperate attempts to make my CV look less long and rambling in terms of page count by packing space to the full horizontally.) Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 13:30

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