There are a lot of job seekers who think the way to stand out from the crowd during a job search is to have a creatively designed — pretty — resume. However, the reverse chronological resume is the best format to use for landing your dream job.
Why should you avoid heavily formatted, creative resumes?
A quick Google search for a resume template will produce hundreds of thousands of heavily formatted and over-designed resume styles.
When you use a format like one of these, you are increasing your chances of being rejected by the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that over 90% of companies use. The ATS scan resumes for everything including years of experience, education, relevant keywords, font/margin size, and number of measurable results presented. If the system can’t parse these pieces of information then it rejects the resume.
Having the resume be rejected by the ATS is the #1 reason that job seekers end up being ghosted by companies. The system kicks the resume out, it never gets forwarded to a human, the humans who are doing the hiring are unaware of the job seeker’s existence, and the job seeker gets no phone call.
The overall advice you'll receive from recruiters, hiring managers, and resume writers is to use a reverse-chronological resume
While there are 3 widely accepted formats that you can use for your resume — the reverse-chronological, the functional, and the hybrid — the most popular is the reverse-chronological.
Hiring managers like to see the reverse-chronological format because they know exactly where the information is and can quickly ascertain whether a candidate seems like a good fit for their open position.
Almost everyone can use the reverse-chronological format
- Use this format if you have a consistent work history
- This format is great for demonstrating career progression and achievements
- Use this format if you’re applying to a position in the same field as your current experience.
Here is an example of a great reverse-chronological resume:
Some tips to ensure your job search success
- In order to keep your resume current and fresh, stick to detailing out only the last 10 years of experience.
- Unless you’ve participated in some major research projects, have done a lot of public speaking, or have published works, keep your resume to no more than 2 pages.
- There may be times when it is appropriate to omit career details from your history.