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What is a chronological resume?

A chronological resume is a resume format that emphasizes your work history, focusing on your top job accomplishments and responsibilities, along with related top skills. The chronological resume format places the work history section below the professional summary, so the recruiter or hiring manager will see your experience and career progression right away.

While the most popular, you might want to steer away from using the reverse-chronological resume format if you have no experience, are changing careers or have a significant gap between jobs. For these situations, there are other formats from which to choose.

What’s the difference between the chronological resume and the other resume formats?

Chronological resume

  • Features a comprehensive overview of your work history.
  • Show off extensive career experience and expertise.
  • Spotlights career progression, showing how you grew through the years.
  • Includes a list of key skills.

 

Functional resume

  • Great for candidates with little to no experience.
  • Organizes your skills under different subcategories to show the employer what you can do despite not having work experience.
  • Generally uses a resume objective instead of a professional summary.
  • Includes related training and nonprofessional activities.
  • More on the functional resume.

Combination resume

  • Appropriate for workers who have a few years of experience, are changing careers or are returning to the workforce after time off.
  • Features a combination of work experiences and skills.
  • Emphasizes relevant skills and work history, rather than a full rundown of both
  • More on the combination resume.

Sections of a chronological resume

Copywriter Chronological Resume Sample

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  1. Professional summary
    Also known as a summary statement and resume summary, this section is the first chance to present yourself to the hiring manager. To start your chronological order resume the right way, give a quick overview of your top skills and qualifications that make you the best candidate for the job.
  2. Work history
    In a chronological resume, the work history section takes up the most space because it’s the focus of this format. Present your work experience in reverse-chronological order, showing how you’ve grown through the years and progressed in your career.
  3. Skills
    Even though the skills section is usually placed below the work history, as this reverse-chronological resume example shows, it’s still essential to feature key skills. Feature six to eight skills that complement your work experience and resume summary. It helps the hiring manager understand who you are and what you can do.
  4. Education
    As the name suggests, the education section in a chronological resume is where you list your academic credentials and any special training or certificates you have. You don’t have to include your graduation date if you graduated more than 10 years ago.

Chronological resume templates and examples

A resume example is a great way to get inspiration and see the chronological resume in action. Use the chronological resume samples below as a guide for your own resume, and find more job-specific examples on our resume examples page.

We also have dozens of resume templates you can use, including free reverse-chronological resume templates for Word you can easily download and edit. Our templates come in various categories, from professional resume templates to creative, modern and more.

Chronological resume example for administrative assistant

The sole focus of a chronological resume is to highlight career advancement. In this particular case, the candidate shows how they have grown through the years and taken on more responsibilities.

Chronological resume example for bank branch manager

Like this chronological resume sample, list the financial services you’ve specialized in and concrete details on the activities you’ve led, such as managing a staff of 12 employees or overseeing customer service, staffing and other operational duties.

Chronological resume example for principal

Mention experiences in which you’ve had to manage large groups of faculty and students in your reverse-chronological resume. Add any recognitions you’ve received for your work (e.g., your school receiving an award for academic excellence).

Chronological resume example for event coordinator

In the work experience section of your reverse-chronological order resume, list examples where you’ve organized various events for groups of all sizes and show how you’ve been able to collaborate successfully with clients.

Chronological resume example for financial analyst

Give examples of how your analyses and recommendations have resulted in positive outcomes for clients and businesses, like the reverse-chronological resume template above. Don’t forget to list your knowledge of job-specific software in your skills section.

Chronological resume example for medical assistant

Focus your reverse-chronological resume on communication skills, empathy and other intangible qualifications necessary for working with patients and specific medical training and certifications.

Chronological resume example for warehouse manager

Like this reverse-chronological resume example, use your work history to show how you’ve improved operations and profits as a manager, using specific numbers that demonstrate your effectiveness (e.g., improving inventory accuracy by 25%).

Chronological resume example for pharmacist

This particular chronological order resume features the candidate’s extensive work history, published articles and other credentials that make them an expert in their field. It’s extensive, thorough and detailed.

Chronological resume example for retail manager

Give examples of how you’ve increased company revenue while ensuring customer satisfaction. Don’t forget to list intangible abilities important to the job in your reverse-chronological resume, such as team leadership, time management and attention to detail.

When to use a chronological resume

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    You’ve shown consistent growth in your career.

    A chronological resume highlights your job titles, promotions and accomplishments. With a clear pattern of success, hiring managers will see that you are a motivated, valuable candidate, driven to succeed. Give three to five examples of your best achievements for each job.

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    The job places heavy importance on experience.

    Some jobs just aren’t for first-timers. Suppose you’re applying for a position that places a premium on employees who’ve put in the work and understand the job inside and out. In that case, a chronological resume is the best format for showing off your experience. Give examples of how you’ve specifically improved businesses and their bottom lines and taken on more responsibilities over time.

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    There are no gaps in your employment history.

    Since a chronological resume offers a comprehensive rundown of your career, it’s the best format for showing steady employment over a long period — and displays your extensive, gap-free experience for all employers to see.

How to write a chronological resume

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    Make your summary an “elevator pitch.”

    Your summary statement is a succinct overview of your top skills and experiences that lets a prospective employer know who you are right off the bat. Model your pitch on what the employer is looking for. For example, if you’re applying for a software engineer job and one of the prime requirements is “experience with Objective-C,” start your reverse-chronological order resume by mentioning any skills and experiences of your own that match (e.g., “Hard-working software engineer with 6+ years experience programming in Objective-C.”).

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    Focus on achievements and numbers in your work history.

    This is the heart of the chronological resume format. When you list your work experience, start with your current or most recent job first and then go backward — that’s where the reverse-chronological order comes in. Remember to list the name of the company, the dates you’ve worked there, and the titles of the jobs you’ve held. Underneath each job title:

    • Feature three to five bullet points that highlight your top responsibilities or accomplishments.
    • Begin each statement with a powerful action verb like adjusted, analyzed, compiled, created or implemented.
    • Use quantifiable achievements in your chronological order resume to show how you’ve excelled at previous jobs. For example: “Collaborated with the motion capture department to collect data for over 100 specific characters and apply them to animations” or “Managed $500,000 budget, improving processes that resulted in 17% reduction in costs from the previous year.”
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    Feature your top skills.

    Always customize your chronological resume to best job’s needs, including the skills section. Write a mixture of six to eight hard skills (such as Microsoft Office, Photoshop, or employee evaluations) and soft skills (like good communication, detail-oriented or time management).

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    Include important training and educational credentials.

    If you’ve been in the same line of work for a while, any evidence you can provide that you’ve honed your skills through additional education or training can positively impact recruiters. List any specialized coursework or certifications in the education section of your reverse-chronological order resume.

    You should present your academic qualifications in reverse-chronological order, including the name of the university, high school or technical school and the credential you gained there. No need to include the graduation date — just stick to the basic facts, such as the subject you specialized in.

    Check out our How to Write a Resume article for more resume-writing advice.

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