The chronological resume is a formal format for resumes that lists your qualifications and work history, beginning with your most recent position and progressing backward in time to the earliest experiences.
As such, it is referred to as a “reverse-chronological resume.” It is the most typical kind of resume and typically includes details highlighting a person’s training, expertise, and employment background.
The chronological resume format is one of the three main resume formats; the other two are functional and combination. The chronological format focuses primarily on your work history. By providing a thorough overview of your employment history from one job position, employer, and employment date to the next, it highlights your career progression. A functional resume focuses on the applicant’s key skills and abilities rather than providing details of the applicant’s work history. Finally, a combination format combines elements of both the chronological and functional formats and presents work history along with skills, traits, and abilities.
As a result, the chronological format is more effective for individuals with a consistently professional and educational experience. This includes senior professionals, individuals with ten-plus years of experience, and few basic skills or a balanced amount of skills and experience.
The functional format is suitable for individuals with gaps in their professional experience, more skill sets than experience, or little to no experience. Users are typically mid-level job applicants with less than ten years of experience, recent graduates, or applicants applying to entry-level jobs.
The combination format is best for people who are changing careers, have had a variety of jobs, or who want to concentrate on their relevant experience and skills without giving a thorough evaluation of either. This article will discuss the process of creating a chronological resume.
When to Utilize a Chronological Format for a Resume
The chronological format of writing resumes is the most common for professional resumes. However, it might not be appropriate in all situations. This is because this format is more effective under certain conditions. For example, if the job description emphasizes work experience, a chronological format might be appropriate.
You can use it when you have 10 or more years of work experience, have been consistently employed (no gaps), have held each of your previous jobs for more than a year, have remained in one career over the years, have worked for different companies or employers within the same industry, or have had a clear career progression, for example through promotions. Other prerequisites for using a chronological resume include the employer’s specific job requirements.
With that in mind, it is evident that the chronological format will have some advantages and disadvantages. To help you decide whether to use a chronological format for your resume, the following are some typical benefits and drawbacks.
The chronological order of this type of resume makes it easy to read and comprehend. This is a quality that makes this type of resume suitable for ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems), which recruiters use to review resumes. Furthermore, it enables recruiters to quickly recognize any illustrious positions you have held or if you have worked with any reputable employers in the past. Recruiters will frequently give priority to this information. Lastly, most recruiters are familiar with this format, especially for senior positions. This is because it shows a clear path to your career advancement.
One of the prominent drawbacks of a chronological format for a resume is that it prioritizes experience, so your competencies are overlooked. Additionally, recruiters can quickly spot any gaps and a tendency to switch jobs in your work history, and this may raise some concerns over your consistency. Additionally, those who are applying for a job in a field they have never worked in before may find the chronological format to be limiting. Given that the resume concentrates on work history, it would be challenging to demonstrate your skills in the new industry.
Additionally, if you are applying as a recent graduate with little work experience, this quality may be restrictive.
Lastly, because it is so frequently used, it makes it difficult to prepare a CV that will be noticeable among all the other applicants.
How to Format a Resume in a Chronological Order
The information you include in your resume is usually listed in the order in which you worked at the job, followed by education and other credentials. In other words, it starts with your current or last job (the most recent), followed by your previous job (the second to last), before ending with the first job.
The following steps will help you develop a professional, chronological resume that emphasizes relevant experience and highlights skills, traits, and abilities:
Step 1: Provide your personal information
Provide your contact information, including your email address, home and/or work address (city, state, and ZIP code), daytime telephone number, and any other contact details that will allow the organization to contact you if there are any questions or if there is an update on the application’s progress. In addition, if you have an online profile like LinkedIn, it is recommended that you mention that.
James May| 555-555-689| [email protected]| Long Island, CA, 2728
Note: It is not compulsory to add a mailing address to your resume like it used to be in the past. The majority of recruiters prefer to communicate via email.
Step 2: Craft a summary or objective statement
The objective or summary statement serves as a goal or an overview of your career profile. A career summary is used if you are an established and experienced applicant. The summary can refer to your experience and relevant skills. An objective summary is used by individuals with little or no experience in a particular field.
Example of a resume summary statement:
Experienced and goal-oriented Production Planning Analyst looking for an opportunity to use my ability to manage tasks efficiently and effectively. Skilled in production planning, scheduling and material requirements planning techniques with proficiency in MS Excel. Experienced in implementing new processes as well as achieving maximum results from existing procedures.
Example of a career objective statement:
Passionate in criminal justice, a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Salford, UK holder. My goal is to obtain a challenging, hands-on position that uses my education, experience, and expertise to build my professional portfolio.
Step 3: Outline your professional history
The chronological resume format will list your current or last job first, followed by your previous job, and then other relevant information like all job titles, employers and dates of employment, work location, and responsibilities. Wherever possible, indicate accomplishments to indicate your success in previous roles.
To effectively write this section, mention the employer, tenure (dates), position, and 3-5 responsibilities in bullet points, and ensure to start each bullet point with an action verb. Action verbs are more engaging and signify proactiveness in previous positions. Also, use metrics (hard numbers) to illustrate your accomplishments. Measurable achievements are more suitable for gauging your contribution in previous positions and are more persuasive.
Position: Store Manager| July 29, 2020 – present
Employer: Minks Fabric Distributors, CA
● Supervising the retail sales team, making timely decisions to meet sales goals. Increased sales by 30% over a 12-month period.
● Establishing a positive rapport with every customer, ensuring that each and every customer feels comfortable and valued in our store.
● Built partnerships with other retail stores across the state, increasing revenue generation by 25%.
● Established relationships with our customers by providing exceptional service and quality products. This raised the customer satisfaction rate from 3.5 stars to 4.5 stars across all online platforms.
Since this is the most important section of your resume, you should aim to make a good first impression. Mention any promotions, tools, and software utilized tangible outcomes and compelling achievements.
Step 4: List your relevant skills
Next, you should list out your most relevant skills to show you can be an asset to the organization. Your list should include soft and hard (technical) skills. The most in-demand abilities for this specific position or industry can be found by looking at the job description.
Proficient in Excel and MS
Excellent communication skills (written and verbal)
Step 5: Provide your educational history
You should also include your educational history in your chronological resume. Mention the academic institution’s name, course/major, degree or certification, and date of graduation. List your education in this order: highest degree (first), associate, and diploma. This section should be written in the same order as the work history section, from most recent to oldest. You can include a high school diploma if you did not pursue a post-secondary degree.
Do not include a high school diploma if you pursued an associate’s degree or higher.
On the contrary, if you did not pursue post-secondary education, mention your high school diploma and include details such as your GPA (if above 3.5) and other details related to the respective role. Students or soon-to-be graduates should consider mentioning additional details such as GPA, relevant coursework, academic awards, extracurricular activities, or if they were on the dean’s list.
Columbia University, NY
MS in Automation June 2019
University of Salford, UK
Bachelor of Science in Information and Technology June 2017
Honors: cum laude (GPA 3.6/4.0)
You can include high school education if you have not had any post-graduate degree and above.
Step 6: Include custom sections
Organizations might ask you to include personal information or extra sections, like ones for your interests and hobbies, your work and volunteer experience, your licenses, etc. If this is the case, consider adding them at this point in your chronological resume.
Certificate in Tax Law, April, 2012
The University of Kansas School of Law
Certificate in Estate Planning, September, 2015
University of Baltimore School of Law
Gym coach at local school
Played volleyball in college for the school team
You can always use templates to assist in writing your resume. Templates are beneficial and can help you with an easy and effortless way to write your resume. You can select and download a free template from our website to help with the procedure. To use a template, simply enter all of the necessary information and customize it to your liking.
Your resume is a vital part of your application, and you should thus aim to write a polished and professional document. Before submitting your resume, carefully review it to see if the following writing tips were followed:
Do not exceed two pages
Ideally, a CV should be one page long. However, for highly experienced applicants or upper-level management applicants, two pages may be acceptable. If you exceed two pages, it will be difficult to keep the reader’s attention, particularly if it contains a lot of text.
Prioritize the first five to 10 years of work
Focus on the first five to ten years. This is unless the employer specifically requests your entire work history or a history dated within the past 10-15 years. This limitation allows you to keep your resume one page long.
Align with the job description directly
You should align your resume directly with the job description. Typically, your experience will have discrepancies with what is ideally expected of you. You must therefore demonstrate your suitability for the position and how you will meet the employer’s expectations.
Focus on your achievements
Aim to prioritize achievements rather than responsibilities in the resume. Employers want to know the value you bring to the companies you work for, and achievements are the best way to demonstrate this by also including tangible statistics. Instead of stating that you promoted products, for instance, say that your marketing tactics led to a 30% increase in sales margins.
Frequently Asked Questions
The chronological format of resumes is best suited for people with an extensive work history. More so if this experience is linked to the position you are applying for. Note that every working experience should be detailed with specific emphasis given to roles held, responsibilities, projects or milestones achieved, and contributions to the team effort, and not just the job description title alone.
Typically, chronological resumes go back as far as the applicant’s first professional job. However, it is recommended that the resume go back at least 10 to 15 years. This is unless otherwise specified by the potential employer.
Work experience is commonly placed immediately after the contact information and before education. This is because work experience is proof that you have had field practice, which is valuable to employers.
Yes. If you have a job with a short duration, consider including it and try to explain it in your cover letter. This is because employers may be interested in knowing why the employment tenure was brief. If you have multiple short-term jobs, consider using a functional resume.
Yes. However, you should do so if there is a dependency between the two careers or if it is an advancement within the same industry. Consider using a functional resume if the two careers are in two different fields, such as from technical lead to sales officer.