Chronological Resume

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There are many different types of resumes that job seekers can use, and the chronological resume is one of the most common. This resume format puts the job applicant’s most recent position and skills first, at the top of the list, with older positions down the list, so that the potential employer can see when the applicant left different positions, and the skills the applicant used while working those jobs.


The Ups and Downs of Using a Chronological Resume:

A chronological resume is most useful for applicants seeking to stay in the same industry, but move up to greater positions of responsibility and higher pay. It is not as useful for applicants who want to change jobs or industries, because their previous employment may not have afforded them the right skills for the job they apply to.

This type of resume also works well for those who have at least a few years of work experience, which employers like to see. Recent graduates might choose a skills-based resume that highlights school or volunteer experience that is relevant to the position, because the applicant does not have much employment history.

Chronological resumes do not tend to work well for those who have gaps in their work history, unless they can be accounted for in a non-negative way – for example, if the applicant took a year off to raise their child and is now reentering the workforce. Even then, a skills-based resume might work better. Employers do not want to see gaps in work history.

However, employers tend to prefer chronological resumes because it is much easier to see the applicant’s work experience, and when they left various jobs – this can show that the applicant has either held positions for a reliable number of years (often 3 or more), or they tend to hop between jobs (1 year or less at different positions). It can also help the employer ask questions about work history, particularly why the applicant left the job – for example, did the applicant get fired from their previous job, and why?

How to Write a Chronological Resume:

Like all important job application documents, chronological resumes have a few pieces of information that are necessary for the employer to see.

  • Make sure your name and contact information are at the top. This is a pertinent part of all job application documents, and while it may seem like you constantly reiterate this information, it is important to show an employer that you understand professional formatting.
  • Write a simple, short objective. This part of a resume is often considered optional now – the “objective” section is falling out of fashion, unless you change industries. If you do want to put an objective at the top of the page, keep it to one simple sentence.
  • List employment history with most recent first. Put the month and year of your hiring and leaving the position (or if you still have the job, keep the date open or put “to Present”). List the business name where you worked. Add between one and three sentences about the skills you acquired at the job and your job duties (keep them relevant to the position you’re applying for now).
  • Outline education information. Any relevant education experience should be listed at the bottom, especially if you have higher education or continuing education, such as a Master’s degree or a certificate in a very specific, relevant field. If you were a member of any relevant societies while in college, list those as well. If you had a high GPA or graduates cum laude or higher, list that, too.
  • List professional memberships and licenses. These can show an employer how invested you are in a trade or gaining additional education in any line of work.
  • Highlight special skills. This section is also falling out of fashion, but if you have specific skills – for example, you type more than 90 words per minute – then this is the section where you can list those skills.

Why Should I Download a Chronological Resume Template?

Resume formatting is important, regardless of what type of resume you use. Proper chronological resume formatting shows a potential employer that you understand a professional work environment. Download our free chronological resume template options to see if this style might work for you.

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