Chronological Resume Format: Examples & Tips
The chronological resume — also known as the reverse chronological resume — is a popular resume format that highlights work experience. Learn how to write a winning chronological resume using our Resume Builder.
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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.
Although the chronological resume format is a popular choice for job seekers, it might not be suitable for you if you are changing careers, writing a resume with no work experience or have a significant employment gap. For these situations, there are other formats from which to choose.
Ready to streamline the process of building a professional chronological resume with our easy-to-use Resume Builder? Craft a seamless career narrative that showcases your experience, and take the first step towards your dream job.
How to write a chronological resume
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Your professional summary — also known as a summary statement and resume summary — is your first chance to present yourself to the hiring manager in your chronological resume. To start your professional resume the right way, give a quick overview of the top skills and qualifications that make you the best candidate for the job.
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.
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 bring to the team.
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 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 templates to creative template, modern templates and more.
Chronological resume example for an 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.
Sample of a chronological resume for a 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 format for a 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).
Sample chronological resume for an 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 collaborated successfully with clients.
Chronological resume sample for a 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.
Sample of a chronological resume for a 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 format for a 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%).
Sample chronological resume for a 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 sample for a 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.
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Chronological resume format FAQ
How do you write a resume that stands out when using the chronological format?
There are several ways to make a chronological resume stand out, but the following no-fail tips are our favorite.
- Use a resume template to give your resume a professional and polished look. Our premium and free resume templates are professionally designed, ATS-friendly and easy to customize.
- Make a great first impression with an enticing professional summary or resume objective. Think of it as an elevator pitch — a short but compelling overview of your top qualifications. For example, “Attentive and knowledgeable massage therapist with a five-year track record of solid customer service and a knack for building relationships. Experienced in a wide range of massage techniques, including deep tissue, Shiatsu and trigger points.”
- Focus on your accomplishments to make an impact. Hiring managers want to see what you can do for them rather than a list of tasks you performed at previous jobs. Be specific and use numbers to make your point. For example, “Increased customer satisfaction by 30% in two months.”
Will the chronological resume format work for me if I’ve never had a job?
Since chronological resumes focus on employment history, we suggest using the functional resume format if you’ve never had a job. A functional resume is great for first-time job applicants because it highlights skills and education.
Where should you add education on a chronological resume?
Education should be added after the work experience section on a chronological resume. List your educational background in reverse chronological order. Include the degree, major, institution and graduation date. You may also include any relevant coursework, academic honors or extracurricular activities.
By placing the education section after the work experience section, you can emphasize your professional experience and accomplishments before highlighting your educational background. This helps to showcase your relevant work experience and qualifications first, which is typically more important to employers.
What does a chronological resume emphasize?
A chronological resume emphasizes your work experience, career progression and professional achievements. List your work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent job.
The chronological resume format allows employers to quickly see how your career has developed and how your skills and experience have grown with each job.
By listing your accomplishments under each job, you can show how you have made a positive impact in previous roles and how you can bring that same level of success to a new role.
What does a chronological resume look like?
A chronological resume typically has a simple and clean layout, with clear headings and bullet points to make it easy to read and scan. You’ll typically include the following sections:
- Contact Information: This section includes your name, phone number, email address and mailing address.
- Professional Summary: A brief statement summarizing your career goals and professional experience.
- Work Experience: This section lists your work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent job. Each job listing typically includes the job title, company name, employment dates and key responsibilities.
- Skills: This section lists any relevant skills that pertain to the job you’re applying for, such as technical skills, language proficiency or other relevant qualifications.
- Education: This section lists your educational background, including your degree, major, institution and graduation date.
- Certifications: Optional section that can give the employer a glimpse of your relevant certificates.
The work experience section is the main focus of the chronological resume, with each job listed in reverse chronological order to highlight your career progression.
When is a chronological resume not advantageous?
While a chronological resume can effectively showcase a candidate’s work history and career progression, it may not be advantageous in certain situations. Here are some scenarios when a chronological resume may not be the best option:
- Limited work experience: A chronological resume may not be the best choice if you are a recent graduate or have limited work experience. In this case, a functional or skills-based resume may be a better option, as it focuses on your skills and abilities rather than your work history.
- Career change: If you are changing careers, a chronological resume may not highlight the relevant skills and experience you have gained in your previous jobs. In this case, a combination resume highlighting your transferable skills and relevant work experience may be a better option.
- Employment gaps: If you have significant gaps in your employment history, a chronological resume may draw attention to these gaps and raise questions about your work history. A functional or skills-based resume that focuses on your skills and abilities may be a better option.
Ultimately, a chronological resume may not be advantageous in certain situations, and it’s important to consider the specific needs of the employer and the job you’re applying for when deciding which resume format to use.
How do I make an ATS-friendly chronological resume?
An applicant tracking system (ATS) is software used by many employers to manage and screen resumes. Here are some tips for making your chronological resume ATS-friendly:
- Use a resume grader: We recommend using our ATS resume checker to scan your resume for common issues that might prevent it from passing screening software.
- Use keywords: Many ATS systems scan resumes for specific keywords related to the job. Include relevant keywords throughout your resume, especially in the skills and work experience sections.
- Use simple formatting: ATS systems may have trouble reading resumes with complex formatting, such as tables, graphics and images. Stick to simple formatting, such as bullet points and basic resume fonts, to ensure that your resume is readable by the system.
- Use standard section headings: Use standard section headings such as “work experience,” “education” and “skills” to make it easy for the ATS to identify these sections.
By following these tips, you can make your chronological resume more ATS-friendly and increase your chances of getting noticed by potential employers.
How many pages should a chronological resume format be?
Ideally, a chronological resume should be one-page long. Still, two pages are acceptable if you have more than 15 years of experience; showing your entire work history will benefit you. If you think you need more than one page for your chronological resume, ensure it’s concise, relevant and easy to read.
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