How to write a chronological resume?

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That means recording them in the order of their occurrence.

Reverse chronology, on the other hand, narrates a story with the recent plot first and flows in the reverse order of occurrence.

A reverse chronological resume format holds a lot of significance as it is often adjudged to be the standard norm for all industries.

So what is a chronological resume format? When is a chronological resume not advantageous and when should you use it? How to write a chronological resume?

Well, this guide is going to answer all these questions and more about the famed reverse chronological resume format.

In case you want the summary, here it is:

  • List the most recent job frist and then date back to the previous ones.
  • Write dates (in mm/yy - mm/yy) format thoughout your resume.
  • Helps in highlighting the professional experience section.
  • Do not use this format if you have career gaps as it will highlight that.
  • This format is ATS compliant which helps you get through the ATS scanner.

By the end of this guide you will learn:

To start with, and to explain to you the importance of dates generally, read the section below.

According to Silvia Rosenthal & Janet Hale in their book 'A Guide to Documenting Learning', bloggers are often advised to put recent dates to otherwise old articles.

This is done to give the readers the feeling that the post is recently written which generates enough interest in the reader's mind.

You can find this universally across multiple domains and industries. Newspapers and media platforms thrive on giving you the most recent updates and the same is followed in the blogging industry. Google posts recently-updated websites and articles first.

The same logic applies to a resume.

Recruiters are more interested in seeing your latest achievements & credentials first, instead of mapping your professional journey from the start.

They are specifically looking for what you are doing right now; the question of what you did 5 years ago comes later.

In our Guide on Reverse Chronological resumes, we'll majorly talk about the following:

Reverse Chronological Resume Sample

8+ years experienced and result oriented Brand Management Professional skilled in targeting marketing and advertising experience to measurably increase brand awareness. Delivered highly impactful results as the custodian of national & international brands involving multiple products and online/offline channels. Proficient in conducting extensive market/consumer research and drafting a clear marketing strategy around it.
• Brand Marketing & Management • Market Research • Digital & Integrated Marketing • Communication
• Graphic Designing • Advertising • Agency Management • Media Planning • New Business Development
• Team Management • Entrepreneurship
  • Formulating and reviewing pitches for new clients & supervising a digital marketing project for Sanley Dark & Deck
  • Servicing high profile accounts like VHRE, and Stanford University for brand-building via digital films
Business Development
  • Chaired a team of 3 to create a referral network by developing affiliate partnerships in the startup ecosystem
  • Amplified lead generation by liaising with ~5 prospective clients/day via multiple channels (online and offline)
Content & Social Media Management
  • Formulated and executed social media strategy for Honest Communications, Assume Tourism and Pinochle Buildtech
  • Curated social media posts using tools like Photoshop, Microsoft Photo Manager, Hemingway, Feedly, Google Alerts, etc.
Digital Marketing & Website Management
  • Drove lead generation and PPC campaigns using promotion tools on Twitter, Facebook, Google Adwords and Analytics
  • Generated 5-7 (FB) and 9-10 (Google Ads) leads/day by effectively managing website & directing campaigns for Pinochle

Formats of a Resume

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There are globally 3 formats used for a resume:-

Reverse Chronological Resume Format

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This format specifically highlights your professional work experience by putting this section in the middle.

This is the most used format for all working professionals.

You will see that the work experience section shows a chronological order example of placing present job first and the previous job after that and so on.

Chronological resume puts maximum emphasis on highlighting the points in the work experience, Achievements and Certifications sections in a reverse chronology.

Dates are mentioned with confidence knowing that it would showcase solid career path without many gaps in the same.

To see more reverse chronological resume templates, skip to the end of the article.

Functional Resume Format

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Name here itself tells us that this resume is more based on functions, i.e. skills and abilities of a candidate.

Functional format is all about highlighting your particular skills that match the skill set required by the recruiter.

What we mean to say is that there might be a candidate with a very clear-cut career graph and solid career graph as compared to you.

But if your skill set and abilities are more relevant than this candidate then you can compete with this candidate on an equal footing.

In fact, you might just increase your chance of selection.

Think like this.

You have not been working from last 6 months but you have a good retail sales ability and particular skills which are relevant to a particular retail job vacancy.

And the other candidate though is working in retail sales presently and that also in a better brand but has not worked for this aspect of the profile.

Then who would be the better choice for the recruiter looking to hire for this profile?

Of course, the recruiter wants someone who can perform once he joins. And a showcase of those skills by you would guarantee the same.

So, when is a functional resume advantageous?

The answer is when you have many career gaps and not a concrete continuous work history.

Functional resume format still shows the work experience section but does not mention the dates.

So the absence of dates makes it safe for the candidate to avoid highlighting the gaps.

A drawback of a functional resume format is that since it is not widely used, it definitely puts the recruiter off looking at an unusual flow of information.

In many cases, the recruiter might even feel that there is something wrong with the career path of the candidate.

For this reason, we move to a next and more safer choice.

Combination Resume Format

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As the name suggests, this format is an amalgamation of chronological resume format and functional resume format.

This should be used when you want to highlight specific skill set and would also like to show work experiences stating dates of the same.

For more details, please visit our Guide on Resume Format

Reverse Chronological Resume - Why Should You Use It?

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The Reverse Chronological Resume is ATS Compliant

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ATS is an automatic tracking system which is a machine recruiter specifically assigned to shortlist resumes before they actually reach human hands.

Now the fact is, it is not only the factual content which gets tracked on ATS.

It is also the format and dates and many other things.

ATS is specifically designed to shortlist a chronological resume.

So get ready to receive many interviews calls with this template.

The Reverse Chronological Resume is Easy to Draft

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A chronological resume template is easy to draft as you are just talking about the tasks performed in each job with dates mentioned.

Also, since there are plenty of examples of a chronological resume template available on the net, it would never be difficult for you to really authenticate the final resume.

The Reverse Chronological Resume is Universally Accepted

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The best bet about a chronological resume template is that it is a globally accepted format.

You would never have to keep changing the format while applying for different countries.

Once you have made your chronological resume, you are done till you grab a great job.

The Reverse Chronological Resume is Recruiter Friendly

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Needless to say, a chronological resume template is favourite for recruiters for the ease of information flow.

Such smooth flow of information proves easy to process during resume shortlisting and during the interview.

Provide an Additional Advantage

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A chronological resume template shows a clear trajectory of your professional journey which showcases you as a genuine and sincere candidate with no gaps.

This gives you an added advantage over the candidate who has many gaps in the work history.

Reverse Chronological Resume - Who should use it?

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Chronological resume as we saw has many advantages but that does not mean that it is suitable for all.

Particularly the candidates who do not have a fixed career path and have taken many breaks in their career journey should avoid using it.

Chronological resume format is good for the candidates who have a concrete and continuous career path.

Chronological resume format is not good for candidates who are unemployed as of now.

It is because the first thing which comes to the recruiter's mind is that the candidate is sitting at home and is out of touch with work.

Then again, you might just get lucky if the recruiter is in hurry of hiring and an unemployed candidate could join on immediate basis. But this happens rarely.

How To Write A Chronological Resume

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Personal Information in a Reverse Chronological Resume

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This section holds the top position in the resume.

Needless to say, it should not consume too much space in the resume if the resume is content heavy.

Refer to the image below:

Personal Information Section in a Resume

Job Title and Professional Summary in a Reverse Chronological Resume

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Rather than stating your career objective in a paragraph, it is more professional and universally acceptable to state your targeted designation and present designation as the Job Title.

At the same time, just below Job title, you must give a synopsis of the entire resume to make it easier for the recruiter to understand your work in just a few lines.

Refer to the reverse chronological resume example showcasing an example of Operations Manager targeting the position of Operations Head:-

Summary Section in a Resume

Key Skills in a Reverse Chronological Resume

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Key Skills summarize the skills gained by a professional in small phrases presented in bullets.

This makes it very easy for the recruiter to scan them through.

The best thing about key skills section is that it is the best tool to clear ATS for necessary keywords.

Refer to the reverse chronological resume example:-

Skills Section in a Resume

Professional Work Experience in a Reverse Chronological Resume

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This section plays the most important role as chronology is first defined in this section.

Here, you have to put your current or recent work experience first, followed by previous work experiences placing the last experience in the end.

As a general rule, keep all the information as one-liner to save space and give ample white spacing.

To make it easy for the recruiter to understand your work, bucketing and bolding of the work experience would come handy.

Refer to the reverse chronological resume example:-

Work Experience Chronological Template

Education in a Reverse Chronological Resume Template

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This section comes immediately after the Professional Experience.

Education in a reverse chronological resume places the most recent degree/course first and followed by previous courses.

Refer to the reverse chronological resume example:-

Education Section in a Resume

Training & Certifications in a Reverse Chronological Resume Template

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Certifications form an important part of your career journey as they increase your skills, knowledge and bargaining power.

Literally speaking, a resume looks incomplete without a list of certifications due to the high increase in competition for each job.

An operations manager resume is incomplete without a six-sigma certification, a digital marketing expert's resume is incomplete without a social media marketing certificate, and so on.

How to add certifications in a resume, please visit our Guide on Certifications in a Resume

Honestly, recruiters don't care what certification you pursued 10 years ago.

We tend to forget what we learnt a few years ago.

Heck, we tend to misplace the certificates too.

Also, too old certifications tend to become invalid with changing times.

Don't eliminate them from the resume but simple placement in the reverse chronological order will take you to your dream interview!

Refer to the reverse chronological resume example:-

Refer to the reverse chronological resume example:-

Incorrect placement of Certifications

Incorrect Placement of Certifications Section in a Resume

Correct placement of Certifications

Correct Placement of Certifications Section in a Resume

Awards & Recognitions in a Reverse Chronological Resume Template

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Award Section in a Resume

As seen in the image above, recent awards and accomplishments are stated first followed by the later ones.

For more sample chronological resume templates, visit our resume builder.

Reverse Chronological Resume Samples - By Profile

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Reverse Chronological order example for Public Relations Associate

Reverse Chronological order example for HR Manager

How to Show Work Experience Section in a Resume

Reverse Chronological order example for Operations Manager

Resume Work Experience Section

Reverse Chronological order example for Accounting Manager

Work Experience Example

Reverse Chronological order example for Finance Associate

Finance Associate Resume Template

Reverse Chronological order example for Accounting Associate

Accounting Associate Example

Account Associate Resume Example

Reverse Chronological order example for Marketing Head

Marketing Head Resume Example

Marketing Head Resume Example

Reverse Chronological order example for HR Associate

Hr Associate Resume Example

Hr Associate Resume Sample

Reverse Chronological order example for Operations Head

Operations Resume Sample

Operations Resume Example

Key Takeaways

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Key Takeaways

Look at more reverse chronological resume samples on our resume builder.

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