The chronological resume is the most popular type of resume among all levels – entry, mid and high – of job seekers. This is the most preferred format for those who have not had any major career hopping in their work life.
What is a Chronological format?
In a chronological format, all sections, where the date and/or year are also significant, are listed based on the order of their occurrence. However, contrary to the name, the order followed is in fact the reverse chronological order, in which the latest and highest qualification appears first in the section and follows chronologically to the first or the lowest one.
The main sections in a professional resume that are influenced by this format are the Work Experience and Educational Qualifications. In both these areas, the date/year is relevant and hence the order is followed.
Employers mostly prefer to see chronological resumes because it illustrates clearly the person’s career growth over the years. It is easy to identify which one happened after which and hence build a story on the individual’s work and academic progression. In a chronological resume, the key area of highlight is the Work Experience section. Therefore, this comes right after the opening Summary or Highlights section. This is followed by the Skills and Expertise section and subsequently by the Education History.
Who should choose this format?
This format is opted by those who have had a steady career growth and are not planning for a major change. They would have a lot of work experience relevant to the job they are applying for and thus would prefer to highlight this in their resumes. For example, a software engineer with over 8 years of work experience applying for a project manager role or a teacher with years of teaching experience applying for a School Principal role.
Read about all four popular resume formats here.
Sample layout of a chronological resume
Summary of Qualifications/ Career Highlights
Put down all your important work related skills, expertise along with your most prominent educational qualification here. You can either put them down as a bullet list or a carefully-worded paragraph of not more than four or five lines.
SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS
Over twenty years of engineering, operations, and management experience. Skilled in the creation, design and manufacture of numerous component products for various magnetic applications. Proficiency with Micrographics, MS Office, MRP and product costing.
• Highly personable Customer Service Professional with over eight years of experience in account management, claims and sales processing, and call center operations within the travel, insurance, and entertainment industries.
• Talent for identifying customer needs and presenting appropriate company product and service offerings
• Demonstrated ability to gain customer trust and provide exceptional follow-up, leading to increased repeat and referral business
• Track record of assisting in the design and implementation of reporting procedures that reduce labor costs and improve customer-satisfaction ratings
• Expertise in resolving escalated customer service issues
• Proficient with Microsoft Office System
Read more about writing a proper Career Highlights section here.
List here, your work history in reverse-chronological order. However, keep in mind that this section is the highlight of your resume and what employers give more attention to. Hence, be as clear and accurate as possible. Do not stretch your work history or your roles and responsibilities as you will be scrutinized deeply on this later, if you land the interview.
Skills and Professional Experience
Include all your professional accomplishments and skills in this section. Use power verbs and action verbs to word each accomplishment. For e.g., instead of saying “I have led a team of 5 to deliver client service” you can say “Spearheaded a team of 5 to deliver quality service to clients while also meeting deadlines ”. This will project your leadership skills in a powerful way.
The Education section is of only lesser importance in a chronological resume. When you have so many professional skills and expertise for the position you are seeking, why should your grades and year of passing matter? Hence, providing a brief listing of all the degrees you possess will suffice.
Download chronological resume samples here.