Not sure what your resume should look like to impress recruiters and land you that dream interview? You’ve come to the right place to find out. See for yourself.
Here’s the thing—
Even though there exist several different resume formats, the chronological resume is arguably the best choice most of the time.
Want to know why?
This article will show you:
- A good definition of a chronological resume.
- Who the reverse-chronological resume format is best for.
- A chronological resume template and sample resumes.
- Expert tips on writing an effective chronological resume.
- Examples of chronological resumes for over 30 professions.
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If you just want to jump right to the section you’re most interested in, use the table of contents:
- What Is a Chronological Resume?
- Who Is the Chronological Resume Format Good For?
- Chronological Resume Template and Writing Tips
- Examples of Reverse-Chronological Resumes and Why They Work
- Chronological Resume Examples for 30+ Professions
What Is a Chronological Resume?
A chronological resume, also known as "reverse-chronological," is a resume format that highlights your work experience, starting with the current or most recent roles. Chronological resume is the best choice for candidates with a consistent work history.
The chronological resume format is arguably the recruiters' favorite.
A recent study from Jobvite reveals that 92% of recruiters regard previous job experience as the number one hiring factor. And the latest eye-tracking study by The Ladders indicates that recruiters scan resumes for job titles.
When you come to think of it—
Experience and job titles are exactly what a chronological resume brings to the reader's attention.
So, if you choose to format your resume in chronological order, you can rest assured the recruiter will find what they're looking for.
Even the best-written resume will get you nowhere unless it reaches a human reader.
You need to realize that over 98% of Fortune 500 companies use Applicant Tracking Systems, or ATSs, in their recruitment processes.
The ATS’s task is to initially scan and score the deluge of resumes a typical corporate opening attracts. This way, recruiters can focus on reading the resumes that meet the most important criteria defined in the job offer.
Chronological resumes are easiest to scan for the ATS. That’s what gives this format an additional edge in today’s hiring.
Want to make 100% sure your resume passes the ATS scan? Read: ATS Resume: Template & 10+ Tips on How to Pass the Resume Test
Who Is the Chronological Resume Good For?
The reverse-chronological resume is most advantageous when:
- You have several years of professional experience.
- Your career progression has been steady, and preferably in one industry.
- You don’t have gaps in employment on a resume.
You don’t have to have many years of experience to use the chronological resume format.
How’s that possible?
A chronological order resume is very versatile.
If you’re making a recent college grad resume, for example, you only need to rearrange the order of your resume sections, and put the education resume section first. Just make sure the entries in each section follow the reverse-chronological order.
And you’re pretty much done.
If you think none of the advantages of the chronological resume format would work in your case, consider opting for one of the other common resume structures:
- Functional resume works fine if you want to focus on your skills and hide gaps in employment
- Combination resume is good if you wish to draw the recruiter’s attention to both your skills and experience
Here’s a brief comparison of a functional vs chronological vs combination resume’s pros and cons:
Not sure if the chronological resume is the best format for your needs? Head straight to our detailed guide: Resume Format: Samples and Templates for all Types of Resumes (10+)
Chronological Resume Template and Writing Tips
Here’s what sections a typical chronological resume template consists of:
- Name and Job Title
- Contact Information
- Resume Summary or Objective
- Professional Experience
- Additional Sections (e.g. Certifications, Interests)
Let’s take a closer look at how you can make the most of each of these sections on your reverse-chronological resume:
Name and Job Title
Even though this section of a chronological resume seems like a no-brainer, it may get tricky when you start thinking about what job title you should put.
Your current one? Or the title of the position you’re applying for?
Obviously, the dilemma is non-existent when both of them are the same.
If you’re pursuing a consistent career path (and this is what a chronological resume is best for) including your current job title makes perfect sense.
But what if you’re applying for a job of a marketer and only have teaching experience?
Well, if you’re making a career change resume consider using a combination resume format.
You can also modify the job title section slightly, and write something along the lines of seeking the position of [job title].
Don’t add any job title at all not to confuse the recruiter about your experience.
Looking for more information on what job title to put on a resume? Read our guide: 450 Job Titles that Work on a Resume & Job Hunt [Current & Desired!]
The rule of thumb is for your contact information on a resume to be current.
Most of the time, listing your mobile phone number, LinkedIn profile on resume, and, obviously, email address will do.
Just make sure your email looks professional.
If you need more information on how to make the most of the top section of your chronological resume head straight to our article: Professional Resume Header Examples & Why They Work [20+ Tips]
Resume Summary or Resume Objective
The first section of your chronological resume that gives the recruiter a glimpse into what you can do is called a resume profile.
The resume profile may take the form of a resume summary or resume objective.
The summary focuses on your previous relevant experience, and so it’s suitable for candidates who’ve been in the workforce for at least 2 years.
In contrast, the objective highlights your skills, and works great on any entry-level resume.
Don’t have a clue how to go about writing your resume profile? Read our guides: Resume Summary Examples (30+ Professional Summary Statements)and 50+ Resume Objective Examples: Career Objectives for All Jobs (+Tips)
Beyond a shadow of a doubt—
This is the heart and mind of a chronological resume.
- Put your latest or current position up top. Follow it up with the previous ones. This is how the reverse-chronological resume order works.
- List the dates worked, job title, and the name of the company for each position you held. You can also add the location of the company.
- See to it that your recent work history is scannable. Use bullet points, not paragraphs. Up to 6 bullets per position will do.
- Focus on presenting achievements on your resume, rather than responsibilities.
- Make a special subsection for your key achievements to give them more prominence.
- Start all bullet points with strong resume action words such as delivered, managed, boosted, achieved, etc.
- Present the experience that’s relevant to the position you’re seeking. Omit everything else.
Need more advice on tailoring your resume? Head straight to our guide: 6 Tips on How to Tailor Your Resume to a Job Description (Examples)
When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building your resume here.
When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.
Depending on how much (or little) experience you have, you may want to put your education above the experience section on your chronological resume.
The education section should clearly communicate your value to the employer.
If you have more than two years of professional experience, list only:
- University name
- Graduation year
If you’re fresh out of school, you may consider adding information on:
You can find more information in our dedicated guide: How to Put Your Education on a Resume [Tips & Examples]
The skills section is an important element of your chronological resume template.
Obviously, there’s no need for you to organize your skills in the chronological order. You can just as well list them alphabetically.
What’s important, though, is to make sure the list of skills on your resume consists of the relevant ones.
Here’s how to get the skills section on your resume right:
- Make a master list of all the skills that you have. Include your soft skills, hard skills, as well as technical skills.
- Take a good look at the job offer to see what skills the employer is looking for specifically. Note down these skills.
- Go back to your master list, and find the skills you identified in the job offer.
- These skills are exactly the ones you need to highlight on your resume.
- Select up to 10 of these skills and list them in the key skills section on your resume.
- It’s a good idea to pepper your entire resume with your key skills. Include some in your resume profile and work history as well.
Need more advice on how to put your skills on a resume? Here’s a guide you’ll want to read: 99 Key Skills for a Resume (Best List of Examples for All Types of Jobs)
Putting additional sections on your chronological resume can always earn you extra points.
Relevance is the name of the game.
Only add the sections that may boost your chances. Here’s a couple of ideas:
Not really sure what sections to include on your resume? Read our guide What to Put on a Resume (20+ Good Things You Should Include to Win)
Chronological Resume Samples and Why They Work
Now, let’s have a look at two chronological resume samples: one for a junior position, the other for a more senior role, and see what makes them effective.
At the end of this section there’s a blank chronological resume template you can fill into write your own resume.
Chronological Resume Example—New Grad
A forward-thinking graduate from Arizona State University with a BA in English and a passion for digital communications. Eager to join DigiMedia as Junior Content Developer to help devise and implement data-driven content strategies, as well as write shareable content loved by the readers. Strong background in writing and editing digital content. 3-month internship experience with SEO and digital content development.
June 2018–September 2018
- Worked with 3 different SEO analytics tools to research relevant keywords and provide editorial guidance.
- Partnered with 2 managing editors to make sure articles are optimized for Google.
- Worked hand-in-hand with the editorial team to create and edit new content verticals.
- Reported on content performance and next-step ideation.
Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Bachelor of Arts, English
Graduated summa cum laude
- Cognitive grammar
- Winner of a student essay-writing competition
- Editor-In-Chief of PsyLence.com—online magazine on psychology and digital communications
- Dean’s List 2018, 2019
- Communication (written & verbal)
- Search Engine Optimization
- Google Analytics
- Adobe Photoshop
- Spanish (bilingual)
- Graphic design
- Rock climbing
Even though Calvin has just graduated college and doesn’t have huge experience, he decided to choose the reverse-chronological format.
More than that—
He consciously put the work history section above the education section.
According to a recent Job Outlook Study from NACE, the top hiring factors that employers take into consideration when hiring recent grads are:
- Internship with the employer’s organization
- Internship experience in the relevant industry
Calvin happens to have completed an internship in the relevant industry, and his chronological resume’s structure reflects the way employers assess candidates’ aptitude for the role.
If internship is what they value most, it’s exactly what they see first on Calvin’s resume.
Calvin gives a lot of attention to the education section, and the other sections as well.
The education section clearly shows that Calvin has a lot of potential for becoming a dedicated employee, and it's where he mentions his key achievements.
Here comes the other chronological resume example, this time for a more senior role:
Chronological Resume Example—Managerial Position
Results-driven and strategically minded sales manager with 4+ years of professional experience. Eager to join GHI Inc. to lead and inspire the sales team to delight the customer and expand into new markets. In previous roles consistently exceeded sales targets by 25% at the minimum, managed a team of over 15 sales associates, and brought in extra $200K revenue over the span of two quarters.
- Executed quarterly marketing plans while maintaining top quality standards.
- Ensured adequate stocking of merchandise.
- Prepared weekly schedules and assigned tasks to 15+ employees.
- Managed and developed local marketing strategies in cooperation with the General Manager.
- Exceeded sales targets by 25% in Q2 and Q3 2017.
- Identified and started cooperating with 20+ new local suppliers.
September 2015–June 2017
DEF & Co.
- Developed and conducted quarterly promotional activities.
- Identified new business opportunities by bringing in 20+ new leads monthly.
- Reported the progression of monthly sales initiatives to internal stakeholders.
- Exceeded sales targets by 30% in Q3 and Q4 2016.
- Renegotiated sales contracts that brought in extra $200K revenue in Q1 and Q2 2016.
Penn State University, State College, PA
- National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP)—Member
- Voice of Influence (NASP)
- Six Steps to Closing Every Time (NASP)
- The Art of Prospecting (NASP)
- Sales techniques
- Interpersonal skills
- Strategic planning
- Relationship building
- Spanish (Advanced)
- Mandarin Chinese (Conversational)
- Landscape photography
Matthew is an experienced sales manager.
He chose the reverse-chronological resume template to highlight his rich work history and key achievements.
Also, he uses bullet points to make his work history easy to scan.
The parts that recruiters pay the most attention to (i.e. job titles and achievements) are bolded to make them stand out.
In contrast to the previous example, the education section on Matthew’s resume has been reduced to the necessary minimum.
Rather than present the details of his college education, Matthew has chosen to include such sections as Associations and Certifications to show he treats his career development seriously.
You can use, modify, and adjust the placeholder template below to structure your own chronological resume:
Chronological Resume Template
[Resume Objective or Resume Summary]
[School Name & Address]
If you’re looking for beautifully designed, ATS-compliant chronological resume templates, well, you’re in luck. Head straight to our article: Blank Resume Templates: 15+ Best Blank Resume Forms to Fill In Now
Chronological Resume Examples for 30+ Professions
Here’s a list of reverse-chronological resume examples for some of the most popular jobs in 10 different industries:
Sales and Customer Service
IT and Programming
Students and Recent Graduates
Education and Teaching
Finance, Business, & Human Resources
Marketing and Advertising
Haven’t found what you’re looking for? This is where you can find a chronological resume example for any profession and career: Resume Examples for Every Profession
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
Here’s everything you need to know about writing a chronological resume:
- Chronological resume template is one of the most versatile resume formats out there.
- Chronological resumes draw the recruiter’s attention to your work history.
- That said, they’re universal enough to be used by fresh grads and candidates applying for junior roles as well.
- To make the most of your chronological resume you must tailor it to the job offer.
Do you have any questions about writing a chronological resume? Maybe you’d like to share advice on how to get everything right? Give us a shout out in the comments below. We’re always happy to help!