The most effective resume circulating in the job market today is the “Reverse Chronological Resume” with a hybrid/combination of “functional” thrown in for good measure. And, it is the style and format used very successfully by LinkedIn for every member’s profiles.

This format is proven to provide your information to a potential employer in the way they want to learn about you. Giving them what they want, when they want it is the key to good marketing – because your resume is advertising you and the goal is the interview!

What does a Reverse Chronological Resume Format contain?

Reverse chronology starts with your most recent/current employment and works backward down the page. It is the simplest approach to recall your experience and accomplishments and the easiest for recruiters and hiring managers to quickly understand the progression of your career and how you obtained the skill sets.

These are the basic sections to include:

  1. Header & Contact Information – Name, phone number, email, and address (or geographical marker).
  2. Professional Summary – A very brief explanation of who you are in the work world and your career. It is the elevator speech of your resume.
  3. Areas of Experience – Read below for more details about “Areas of Experience”.
  4. Employment History – A summary of each relevant job, your title, job description, and notable accomplishments.
  5. Software Technology – It is so important to include your software application experience. Most employers want to know you are tech savvy.
  6. Education/Relevant Training – If applicable, include your college, technical training, and on-the-job training.
  7. License/Certifications – Many professions have certification and licensure requirements. Include them, especially if relevant to the job you are applying for.
  8. LinkedIn URL – This is important. Most recruiters, HR and hiring leaders will check you out online. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, create one. (There are a few career exceptions that don’t really need a LinkedIn profile.)

What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are screening your application when you submit your online application. ATS compare your resume’s content to the job posting you applied to. Each ATS is looking for a percentage of “keywords”. If there are enough keywords, the ATS program will send you a decline (or some variation of decline). If there are enough matching words, the system will alert the recruiter it is eligible for the first review. You want your resume to get past the ATS and into the hands of a human.

How do I get my resume to pass the ATS test?

Add a critical functional resume format section called an “Areas of Experience”. I usually put this section right under the “Professional Summary” section. This added section will allow you to plug and play relevant keywords from your experience – and for each job you are applying for. Here is an example:

HOT TIP: Make sure to review the job posting. Customize this section before you submit. Take the time to include relevant keywords for each job. It will give your resume a much better chance of passing the ATS screening.

– Heather McBride, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

P.S. Do you want to learn more about writing your own resume? Check out my online resume course.