A chronological resume is one of the three main resume formats. This format draws attention to your work experience. Your current job or most recent position is listed first, and it continues in reverse-chronological order through the rest of your work history.
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 is the right resume format for you. Below are explanations of the two other resume formats and how these might apply to you.
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.
These chronological resume samples will help you understand how this layout works and help you visualize your resume.
This electrician sample resume from Central Carolina Community College is in the chronological format with focus on work experience. Because this template showcases the applicant’s work history and timeline, it is perfect for people who are staying within the same career path or profession, and it’s not a good fit for people who have had gaps in employment.
This example is for an experienced electrician with more than 10 years’ experience in all phases of the electrical field. It can be used by applicants in other industries for a type of job in which education is gained not through traditional universities but apprenticeship.
These recent graduate resume samples, hosted by American University, are designed for recent graduates with limited work experience. Education is prioritized by listing it first followed by academically-acquired skill sets. Because work history is limited, it has been relegated to the bottom of the page, and non-relevant experience is on the second page.
This example is for a recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree in architecture and an internship with an architectural firm. Other industries for which this type of resume would work well include fields such as veterinarian or medical technician, engineering or law.
By listing qualifications first, this reverse chronological resume writing guide from the University of Washington’s School of Public Health shows that the applicant understands the needs of the job. Education and work experience are both important for this career, but the applicant reinforces her knowledge of the job by listing previous, relevant special experience.
This resume example is from an applicant with many years of experience in related fields and multiple related degrees that show potential employers she has the skills they need. This model can be great for careers that value experience. While a traditional chronological template also focuses on years of experience, this template helps to answer the question, “Experience doing what?”
This nursing chronological resume showcases a complex work history while highlighting work-related experiences. With the timeline prominently justified to the right of the text, the statement made is that the applicant knows her work history is valuable, but also realizes that her experiences are even more critical.
This example is for a nursing student who expects to graduate soon and is applying for a position as a new graduate nurse. It would also work well for careers in which education, experience and licensing are equally important — medicine, safety or law, for example.
Originally drafted by Tidewater Community College, this teacher resume example is in the classic reverse-chronological format. Education is listed first because it’s not only the most recent experience but also the applicant’s strongest qualification. The value of the work history timeline is shown by justifying it to the right, where it is both prominently displayed and also removed from the more important, relevant list of experiences.
In this example, the applicant’s master’s degree in teaching will be a strong asset to any school looking to groom a young but knowledgeable teacher. Work history, while limited to student teaching and teaching assistants, shows a long-term commitment to the field.
If you think the chronological layout is best for you, you can get started building your own. You already know how this resume looks from the previous samples. Now, you can easily create your own with our chronological resume templates.
Now that you have the tools you need, here are instructions you can follow to write an effective chronological resume.
The structure of a chronological resume is simple and straightforward. There are some indispensable elements, and the order in which you display them is important. The outline of your resume should look something like this:
In reverse-chronological resumes, the employment section is the most important and should be listed before your education. You can add additional sections for Professional Affiliations or Languages after Education. Doing this may enhance your resume as long as it doesn’t extend the resume to more than two pages.Here are the exact steps you need to take to create each of the sections.
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, so make sure to include them.
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:
It’s also important to showcase the growth you achieved and advancement you made:
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.
The previous chronological resume templates and samples will help you considerably, but a resume builder will make it even easier to create a better resume.
You can sample our resume builder. It features dozens of templates with pre-programmed margins and customizable text blocks that you can personalize.
Pick a template that has enough space for you to emphasize your work history, which is important when you’re writing this resume format. The builder allows you to customize your template according to your needs. For example, you can pick a text-based layout with a professional look that will let you highlight your work experience. Remember that chronological formats have a traditional layout, so pick one without images or graphics.
This simple layout features a traditional font and the clever use of section borders to help each section of your resume stand out.
This distinctive two-column resume template identifies your name and professional experience in a bold color and clean presentation.
A clever design that breaks each of your professional accomplishments into distinct sections while following a format that will pass applicant tracking systems.
The elegant initials, simple header and strategic use of bullet points in this template help keep your professional accomplishments well-organized.
The bold use of a colorblocked heading paired with an elegant resume layout helps your name and contact information stand out.
This structured design combines a two-column approach with bullet points to highlight your key accomplishments and professional history.
A traditional template uses a crisp combination of dark text and thin borders to radiate professionalism. Your name sits prominently above your professional history.
This template’s design features plenty of whitespace neatly divided by gray bars to make the information on your resume easy to read for employers.
This two-column resume conveys a very clear breakdown of its sections that allows a hiring manager to quickly scan your resume.
The subtle color accents in this template add visual pizzazz in a classy way, a great option for most traditional industries.
This resume’s modern design and bold use of color make it pop. Its uniqueness is well-suited to those seeking jobs in creative industries.
Everything about this template is assertive from the boxy layout to its all-caps heading text that gives the impression that you’re all about business.
The understated contact information at the top puts attention front and center on your professional summary, skills, work experience and education sections.
The subtle use of red alongside black gives this template a bold feel while still featuring plenty of white space to make it easy to read.