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A chronological resume is one of the three main resume formats (chronological, functional and combination). This resume format draws attention to your work experience and career advancements. Your current job or most recent position is listed first, and it continues in reverse-chronological order through the rest of your work history.
A chronological resume follows the same standard layout:
This resume section sits at the top of your document. Include your full name and professional email, phone number and relevant links to professional sites. These relevant sites can include social media sites such as LinkedIn or Glassdoor, or professional websites that host your work portfolio, resume and references.
This brief introduction sits near the top of your resume and helps you contextualize it with the requirements of an open job. This is the first place where you can craft a personal connection with a hiring manager and showcase how your professional achievements will benefit the hiring company.
This is the main event of this resume. This section traces back through your professional career, starting with your most recent job and works its way back. You’ll want to add quantifiable metrics and personal achievements in this section to make it truly shine. We’ll share a few pointers.
This section lets you build on additional career strengths that you can bring to an open role. You shouldn’t showcase more than six to eight skills in this section; any more and your risk cluttering your resume and drawing attention away from your work history section.
The final section of this resume highlights your formal degrees as well as any job-relevant certificates or training programs that you’ve completed. We’ll offer additional advice on how to write and structure this section in the writing guide below.
These chronological resume samples will help you understand how this layout works and help you visualize your resume.
Before you decide whether a chronological resume is the right fit for your next job search, you may want to weigh the pros and cons of this format. This resume is perfectly suited for job seekers with steady job histories, clear career growth in the form of promotions or career advancements, and a few years of formal job experience.
Writing a chronological resume is simple and straightforward. The outline of your resume will look like this:
Go back and review the job description. Each job you apply to is different, and you’ll need to adapt the description of your activities and achievements to the specific position you are seeking. Search for keywords in the job description. Ads usually describe what the company is looking for in a candidate via these keywords.
Later, you will use the same keywords to write about your past roles. Think about any of your achievements related to the job requirements, and jot them down. Using the same keywords when you create your resume will help make clear that you have what the company is seeking in a candidate.
There is a good chance your resume will be screened by an applicant tracking system (ATS). The ATS scans for keywords from the job description before an actual person looks at your resume. Resumes may be discarded at this step if they don’t have enough of the required keywords.
This section should include the essentials: your complete name, address, email and phone number.
It is not necessary to write your full address. Just include your city and state. Write ‘Willing to relocate’ if it applies to the position. Sometimes recruiters will reject your resume if they think you live too far away to commute.
For your phone number, a mobile number is preferable. This will make it easier for recruiters to contact you. Always use a professional email address, which should include your first and last name, but no nicknames or funny business.
You can include a job title in this section if your current job title is the same as that of the position you are seeking. This will reinforce the message that you’re who the recruiter is looking for.
Add a link to your professional website if you have one and to your LinkedIn profile as well.
It is important to make a positive impression via your resume from the start, so make sure this section has an impact. Here you should underline the key points in your work history and focus on your most relevant achievements.
The professional profile should be concise and have around 50 words summarizing your professional experience, skills and accomplishments.
Start with the number of years of work or internship experience, your area of expertise and your main job duties. Then specify important facts and accomplishments with quantified information. Continue with objective skills and abilities that will be useful in your new position. Also include relevant awards, degrees or certificates you hold.
To have a better understanding of this section, let’s compare two professional profiles. Here is a bad example of a corporate real estate executive’s profile:
In this example, it is not clear what the executive’s specialty is. Of course, every company would like to hire someone “highly motivated,” but just using the phrase alone doesn’t show it is true. The last sentence could also be improved by describing “ongoing professional development” in more detail.
Now let’s have a look at this example:
Objective facts and measured statements are what make the second profile example better than the previous one. Quantifiable information in a summary has the following benefits:
This is the main component of your resume. It should list your principal tasks and biggest achievements from your previous jobs in bullet points. List each by company name, position and dates.
It’s also important to showcase the growth you achieved and advancement you made:
Recruiters will be looking for different elements, such as the basics of what you did:
A chronological resume depends on highlighting your skills and achievements under your work history. However, this section allows you to slip a few additional career strengths and qualifications into your resume.
You should only include skills that weren’t previously mentioned in your summary statement or work history. Strike an even balance between soft skills (interpersonal skills such as communication, teamwork or collaboration) and hard skills (learned skills such as Microsoft Excel, computer skills or data analysis). Consider our favorite resume-friendly skills and break them down by different industries.
A chronological document highlights your professional experience, so the education will usually go at the end of your resume. The less work experience you have, the more detailed the education section should be.
You should mention only the most relevant information. Providing the name and location of your university, major, type of degree and year of graduation is usually enough. You may include the GPA if you recently graduated and it is 3.5 or above.
A chronological resume allows the recruiter to see your employment history at a glance. Learning to write this document effectively will help you land a job interview and continue consistent professional development.
Let’s review some of the main points for achieving this:
If you follow our recommendations, they will help your resume to stand out, and recruiters will be more likely to notice it.
Choosing the chronological resume for the right reasons will impact your chances of standing out among your competitors. But you should be certain that it’s the right resume format for you. Below are explanations of the two other resume formats and how these might apply to you.
1. Functional or skills-based
2. Combination or hybrid
Whereas a chronological resume focuses mainly on work experience and previous job activities, a functional resume, also known as a skills-based resume, focuses on your talents and achievements.
Ask yourself which you want to highlight. The following key points can help you choose the best type of resume for you:
The combination resume, as the name implies, puts together information from chronological and functional resumes. Consider the following to help you decide whether a chronological or a combination resume is a better fit for you.
A chronological resume is the most recognized and common resume format, but not everyone should use it. You should use a chronological format if you describe yourself as any of the following job seekers:
A chronological resume loses its advantages if you have less than ten years of experience, frequently change jobs, or only have short stints at each job you’ve held. Don’t worry, there are other resume formats that can better suit your professional experience and showcase your hiring merits. Let’s go over the unique situations and what formats you should try.
Use a functional resume, also known as a skills-based resume, if you fall under any of these categories:
If you fall under any of these job-seeking categories, a combination resume combines the best of the chronological and functional formats and may suit you:
A chronological resume is also known as the reverse-chronological format because jobs are listed in reverse order, starting with your current job and slowly working back through your work history. We recommend that you stop after summarizing your last ten years of professional employment unless you have additional relevant work history that relates to the open job.
Each of your job entries should follow this format:
Job Title, Company Name
Location, Dates of Employment