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The Chronological Resume Format
What is a Chronological Resume and Who Should Use One?
What is a chronological resume format?
All resumes consist of the same five sections; a resume format just refers to how those sections are organized.
A chronological format organizes your career accomplishments, starting with your most recent experience and going backward from there.
This way, hiring managers have a clear overview of your top career accomplishments with just a quick glimpse of your resume. After all, a recruiter only spends around seven seconds on average looking at a resume!
Who should use a chronological format?
Use a chronological format if these apply to you:
- You have 10+ years of experience.
- You want to showcase your career arc.
- You don’t have big gaps between jobs.
- You have held a senior-level position.
This resume format is well-suited to individuals with a longer work history — usually 10 years or more — because it shows career progression and emphasizes your experience.
Chronological formats also tend to be the preferred type of resume among recruiters because they focus on what you’ve been able to achieve in other jobs. With a thorough look into your professional accomplishments and previous tasks, a hiring manager can then feel confident that you’ll be able to bring that same success to their business.
Take note: People starting out their careers should not use a chronological format! If you’ve got less than three years’ experience, you should use a functional resume format.
Similarly, if you’ve got between three and nine years of experience or if you’re applying to a job that’s a promotion from ones you’ve held, consider using a hybrid/combination format.
These alternatives to the chronological format will put less emphasis on your limited work experience and give greater focus to your skills as a way to impress employers.
How to Construct a Chronological Resume Format
A chronological resume is always going to follow this order:
- Contact information
- Professional summary
- Work experience
In the event that you want to add additional sections such as “Awards and Honors,” “Press,” “Certifications” or “Volunteer Work,” it’s best to do so in between your skills and education sections.
If you want additional information on how to nail the writing of each specific section, check out our Ultimate Guide on How to Write a Resume.
5 additional writing tips
Before you start writing your resume, list your job history in reverse-chronological order. You should also create a list of career accomplishments and the skills you used to achieve them. Considering what you want to feature will make it easier for you to put it all together!
Read the job description carefully to identify keywords and phrases the employer wants. If applying for different positions, you should tailor your resume according to each specific job description. It will better resonate with employers!
Your professional summary lives at the top of your resume and serves as the greatest hits for your career. The more well-written and focused on your most significant accomplishments your summary is, the more likely a hiring manager is to keep reading and pay serious attention to your resume!
When describing your achievements, grab the recruiter’s attention by providing quantifiable metrics. This adds credibility to your resume by providing a more concrete way to understand what you’re capable of as an employee.
Create a list of six to eight skills that best describe your work approach. Then align these skills to those listed in the job description. Your skills section may then be presented on your resume in bullets or listed as a brief summary of your qualifications.
6 Chronological Resume Examples
Free Chronological Resume Format Example
Here you’ll find a free downloadable example that you can use to help write your chronological resume.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, though! JobHero has hundreds of resume examples that are industry and job-title specific.
They can help you see how to phrase or include work experience on your resume!
Can I use a builder to create a chronological resume?
The answer is yes! JobHero’s Resume Builder is an excellent tool to create a chronological resume. It’s simple to use and has a variety of templates that you can choose from.
Once you choose your favorite template, you will be guided through completing each section of the resume. The builder also auto-suggests content and key phrases according to your industry.
Already have an existing resume? You can simply upload your current resume into our builder — it can be any format: PDF, DOC, DOCX, HTM, RTF and TXT. Once it’s saved, you can add and customize it as needed.
What is a reverse-chronological order resume?
A reverse-chronological format is just another name for the chronological format — the most common type.
This resume organizes your work experience in a reverse-chronological timeline, starting with the most recent job first and working backward.
A reverse-chronological resume focuses on your work experience and top accomplishments instead of your skills and education.
Feel confident about starting your resume. You can create a reverse-chronological resume in just minutes using a professional Resume Builder.
When is a chronological resume advantageous?
This type of resume works best for candidates who have a lot of hands-on experience performing similar duties and tasks to the role they seek. Hiring managers can see that you have performed duties similar to the position they need filled.
A chronological resume is also advantageous to show that you have not had any gaps in your work history.
When is a chronological resume not advantageous?
A chronological resume is not advantageous for candidates with employment gaps or job seekers with little work experience. A chronological resume will only magnify those periods of unemployment.
If you have less than two years’ experience, a better choice is the functional resume because it emphasizes your skills and abilities rather than your work history.
For those going through a career change, a chronological resume is also not the best choice. Instead, use a hybrid/combination resume, which will showcase your skills as well as your work history. The combination resume merges the best of both chronological and functional resume formats.
How do you make a chronological resume?
Like other resumes, a chronological resume will start with a professional summary or an objective statement.
Next comes your professional work history.
Organize your employment along with your most significant accomplishments in reverse-chronological order, starting with the most recent.
Experts recommend listing your achievements in quantifiable metrics. This will show recruiters your measurable success in a way that’s concrete!
Include a list of the skills that you bring to the job, including hard and soft skills.
Last, list your education, the schools you attended and the degrees, certifications and any awards or honors you earned in reverse-chronological as well.
Ready to complete your resume in just a few minutes? Try our Resume Builder.
Our team of experts has included auto-suggested keywords and phrases specific to your industry. It’s easy to use and will let you customize your resume and information in no time.