Heath Alva
Posted June 7, 2021

Chronological resume: tips, examples, and how to write one

Learn what a chronological resume is. Plus get tips, examples, and a free template.
Heath Alva
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Chronological resume: tips, examples, and how to write one
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As you're preparing your resume for a job application, you may be wondering how to format it.

The chronological resume format is commonly used and suits most job types.

It may sound confusing, but a chronological resume lists your work history in reverse chronological order. It starts with your most recent job and goes backward.

To help you decide whether this is the right format for you, we'll compare it to other resume styles. We'll also give you tips on how to structure your resume and tell you what you should include.

And to help with your application, we've created a chronological resume example with a free template.

What is a chronological resume?

A chronological resume is a one-to-two-page document that summarizes your work and academic experience. Your work history is highlighted in order, starting with your most recent position.

A chronological resume may also be called a reverse chronological resume. Despite their names, these two formats are the same.

Most recruiters prefer this resume layout, as it gives them an overview of your career progression. Because it is listed by date, a chronological resume can quickly show gaps in your work history.

In addition to your work experience, a chronological resume might include a summary, hard and soft skills, education, and certifications.

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What should a chronological resume include?

70% of hiring managers say that resume mistakes could lead to instant candidate rejection. But what makes a good chronological resume?

It should include everything a recruiter needs to assess your skills and experience. You should also make sure that it is clear, grammatically correct, and easy to read. Stick to readable fonts such as Calibri, Cambria, Arial, or Garamond.

Give employers what they expect by following this simple structure:

1. Personal details

Your contact information should be at the top of your resume. Include your full name, address, phone number, and email address.

Double-check to make sure these details are correct. If a recruiter wants to invite you to an interview, they need to be able to get in touch.

Depending on the industry, you may want to add your LinkedIn profile.

2. Summary

The introduction to your resume should be a short summary statement. Keep it brief and only include your most relevant skills. Aim for three or four sentences at maximum.

If you have more to say, you can expand on your experience and match your skills to the job description in your cover letter.

3. Professional experience

Following the summary, list your work history, starting with the most recent and working your way back. You should include the company name, position title, and dates of employment.

For example:

GROCERY COMPANY

Cashier (2015 – 2020)

If you're still employed, you can write it like this:

GROCERY COMPANY

Cashier (2015 – Present)

Use bullet points and keywords to highlight your responsibilities. Focus on areas that are relevant to your career goals.

If you’re not sure how many positions to list, three is a good number. Don’t worry if you have only had one or two jobs, as you can go into greater detail and expand on your key roles and responsibilities.

4. Education

The education section should feature your academic success. If you’ve completed a college degree, you can list that here. Otherwise, you can include your high school GPA and any certificates you’ve obtained.

For example, you may have a first-aid certificate, workplace award, or heavy vehicle license that you can include.

5. References

Some job advertisements will specifically ask for references. If this is the case, add the contact details of two or three professional references to your resume.

If you haven't been asked to provide references, leave them out.

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When shouldn’t you use a chronological resume?

While chronological resumes suit most jobs, there are times when this won’t be the best choice.

For example, you might have large gaps in your employment history, or you may be going back to a previous industry. If it’s a specialized job, some of your recent skills and experience may not be relevant.

The two other alternatives are functional and combination resumes.

Functional resume

A functional resume, also known as a skill-based resume, highlights your skills and experience and doesn’t follow a specific timeline.

It’s an overview of all your skills and areas of expertise that match the job description. A brief summary of your work experience is listed at the bottom.

There may be times when a functional resume is a good fit. For example, you may be changing careers, or you may have had long periods of unemployment. Alternatively, you may have run your own business and now want to rejoin the workforce.

Despite this, a functional resume isn’t usually recommended for most jobs because it can confuse employers. Recruiters may question why you are hiding gaps in your resume.

Combination resume

A combination resume is a mix of both the chronological and functional resume formats. It starts with a skills section at the top and finishes with a brief timeline of your work history.

Just like a functional resume, the combination resume format may be suitable if you have periods of unemployment.

It puts the focus on your experience, strengths, and skills but doesn’t disguise dates of employment.

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Chronological resume example

If you are ready to write your chronological resume, we’ve created this sample to show you how it could look:

RESUME Bella Jobseeker 23 Bridge Street Omaha, NE 68007 Phone: (111)-111-1111 Email: [email protected]

Experienced worker with eight years of experience in hospitality and retail management. Can confidently lead a team, manage, and facilitate training programs. Strives to source and build relevant community networks and continues to develop interpersonal relationship skills. Seeks innovative solutions and uses the latest technologies to promote, inform, and guide.

WORK EXPERIENCE

KOHL’S. Omaha, NE

ASSISTANT MANAGER (2018–Present)

  • Administrative tasks and rosters
  • Weekly team meeting management
  • Customer liaison
  • Staff training supervisor
  • Cash and stock management
  • Day to day operations
  • KPI creation and monitoring

TARGET. Omaha, NE

SALES ASSISTANT (2015–2018)

  • Customer liaison
  • Stock management
  • Cash handling
  • Cleaning

MCDONALDS, Omaha, NE

COUNTER CREW (2013–2015)

  • Food preparation
  • Cash handling
  • Customer service
  • Cleaning

EDUCATION

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA OMAHA

Bachelor of Human Resource Management (2000-Present)

CPR AND FIRST AID CERTIFICATE 2021

REFERENCES

References are available on request.

Get started with this free chronological resume template

Now it’s your turn. Here’s a free chronological template that you can use to create your professional resume:

RESUME

(Your First Name / Last Name)

(Your address)

Phone: (000)(000–0000)

Email: (Your email)

SUMMARY

(Use this section to summarize your skills and experience in three or four sentences).

WORK EXPERIENCE

(List your work experience in order, starting with the most recent).

(Company Name)

(JOB TITLE) (Year–Year)

  • Key responsibility
  • Key responsibility
  • Key responsibility
  • Key responsibility
  • Key responsibility

(Company Name)

(JOB TITLE) (Year–Year)

  • Key responsibility
  • Key responsibility
  • Key responsibility
  • Key responsibility
  • Key responsibility

(Company Name)

(JOB TITLE) (Year–Year)

  • Key responsibility
  • Key responsibility
  • Key responsibility
  • Key responsibility
  • Key responsibility

EDUCATION
(Educational Institution)

(Degree or Certificate) (Year completed)

(Educational Institution)

(Degree or Certificate) (Year completed)

REFERENCES

References are available on request.

(Image Source)

Build your chronological resume

Resume writing doesn't have to be complicated when you use the chronological resume format.

You can start by creating resume sections, including a header with contact information, a summary statement, a work experience section, an education section, and references.

While there are different types of resumes, chronological is the most common. Your work experience timeline starts with your most recent position and includes any relevant experience.

Whether you're ready for a career change or want a new professional resume for your job search, a chronological resume is a good place to start.

Ready to start job hunting? Search for jobs near you and get started today.

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