The chronological resume - also known as the “reverse chronological resume” - is the most popular resume format out there.
Particularly advisable for those with rich work history, the chronological resume prioritizes and lists your work experience and achievements from most to least recent.
This article is here to teach you all there is to know about creating a chronological resume.
- What is a Chronological Resume?
- Chronological Resume Structure
- When to Use a Chronological Resume Format?
- 4 Free Chronological Resume Templates
- How to Create a Chronological Resume - Step by Step
- 9+ Chronological Resume Examples for All Industries
What is a Chronological Resume?
A chronological resume lists your work experiences and achievements starting from the current or most recent one, and following up with previous jobs below.
For this exact reason, the chronological resume is the perfect choice for job-seekers who have plenty of experience and achievements to list on their resume.
What’s most important, studies point to the chronological resume being a favorite among recruiters, too.
Why? Well, because you are applying for a job, so work experience in your resume will be the first thing a recruiter looks out for.
But worry not, you can structure your resume in a chronological format even as a recent graduate too. Or, you can opt for other popular formats fitter to your profile.
But first, let’s go through the basics.
Chronological Resume Structure
The chronological resume follows a straightforward structure. The only thing to keep in mind is that your current or most recent experience - be it professional or educational - comes first.
The second most recent will follow, and so on.
Here are the main and most popular sections for the chronological resume structure:
- Contact information
- Professional title and resume summary/objective
- Work experience and achievements
- Education section
- Your top soft/hard skills
- Include optional sections (languages, certificates, volunteer experience, etc)
If you’re a recent college graduate and want to build your resume in the chronological structure format, you still can.
All you have to do is rearrange the order of your resume sections so that the education resume section comes first.
Here, too, make sure that your education entries are listed from the most to least recent, and you’re good to go!
If reading this is already looking too complicated and time-consuming, try out the Novorésumé online resume builder. Novorésumé provides 8+ free resume templates that follow the chronological resume structure.
When to Use a Chronological Resume Format
The three main types of resume formats are the chronological, functional/skills-based one, and a combination resume format of the two. What you choose to use will depend on the type of job you are applying for and your experience level.
In the majority of cases, the obvious choice is the chronological resume. It is common, it highlights just the right sections, and job recruiters prefer it over the other formats.
Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean you should just cross the other options off your list, especially if your work experience doesn’t amount to much.
Consider these other two formats, taking into account their advantages and disadvantages as well:
- Perfect for students or recent graduates, as it highlights your skills.
- Offers creative space for a varied portfolio
- Difficult to pass through the ATS (Applicant Tracking System) that most companies use to scan through countless resumes they receive daily.
- It conceals your experiences, however minor they might be.
- A great choice for job-seekers with a diverse skill-set, because it highlights both skills and experiences.
- It can mask gaps in your employment history since you can also list your skills, so it’s the second-best option for those who lack work experience.
- It is a really good fit only for highly specialized professionals who have a very diverse skill-set. Say, for example, that you’re applying for a role that requires expertise in 3-4 different fields, and you want to show all that in your resume - then, the combination resume really is the one for you.
- It is hard to organize. As a professional with a diverse skill-set, it might be a challenge to decide which part of your expertise to prioritize in the combination resume format.
4 Chronological Resume Templates
Below, you will find 5 chronological resume templates out of many free resume templates. Dig right in to find the best match for you.
#1. Creative Chronological Resume Template
#2: Modern Chronological Resume Template
#3: Professional Chronological Resume Template
#4: Functional Chronological Resume Template
How to Create a Chronological Resume
Now that we mentioned the traditional structure, let’s go through each section one by one to create the perfect chronological resume.
#1: Start With a Contact Information Section
Depending on the template you have chosen for your chronological resume, there is a possibility that your name will be directly followed by your professional title right at the top.
How do you fill up your professional title in chronological resume format? Easy. If you’re not looking to change career paths your professional title should be your current title.
However, if you’re changing career paths, then choosing the combination resume mentioned above might be a better option for you.
Regarding the rest of the contact information section on your chronological resume, it should be current and lacking any typos. The mandatory elements of the information section include:
- First and last name
- Phone number
- Email address
- LinkedIn URL (optional)
#2: Add a Resume Summary or Resume Objective
Wondering what the difference is?
Well, the summary is a short (2-3 sentences) overview of your career so far and it is used in 90% of resumes - especially by those with two or more years of work experience. A summary is a perfect fit for the chronological resume.
On the contrary, a resume objective represents your aspirational career goal and highlights your skills, making it perfect for entry-level professionals with little work experience, or job-seekers looking to completely switch career paths.
#3: Fill in Your Work Experience
This is, without a doubt, the section that weighs the most when it comes to the chronological resume, so it’s vital that you get it right.
Your work experience section is there to show the recruiter what you can bring to the table through your past accomplishments and responsibilities and what the company would be gaining were they to hire you.
Feeling pressured? Don’t. There are many practices to help your work experience section stand out in the eyes of the recruiter.
If you are looking for more tips and tricks to help you take your resume to the next level, head over to our beginner’s guide on how to write a resume.
Here are the key points you should keep in mind when it comes to the work section:
- This is the most important so we’ll be repeating it as many times as it takes: your current or latest job position should be placed on top. Then come the previous ones, all the way to your earliest job position.
- For each entry, list your job title and position, the company and its location, as well as the dates when you were employed.
- List your achievements and responsibilities, with a higher focus on quantifiable achievements, whenever you can.
- Use bullet points instead of just text to express what you have achieved and what you were responsible for in every job entry.
- Tailor the resume to the position you are applying for. For example, if you’ve had too many jobs in the past and some of them don’t relate to the field you are now applying for, then they are just taking space. Feel free to omit them.
Here’s a close-up of a work experience section in the chronological resume:
#4: Add an Education Section
Generally, the education section comes right after work experience.
If, however, you have just graduated college and want to create a chronological resume to start applying for jobs, the education section can replace the experience section that you’d be lacking.
Either way, the education section should be brief but jam-packed with information that can communicate your values and skills to the recruiter.
Here’s what the education section consists of:
- Program Name: E.g. “MA in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies”
- University Name: E.g. “University of Greenwich”
- Period Attended: E.g. “08/1214 - 05/2018”
- (Optional) GPA: E.g. “3.9 GPA”
- (Optional) Honors: E.g. “Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude”
- (Optional) Academic Achievements: E.g. Papers you might have published, or awards received.
- (Optional) Minor: E.g. “Minor in Political Science”
#5: Spice Up Your Chronological Resume With Your Skills
Needless to say, the reverse-chronological order doesn’t really apply in the skills section.
What you can do, however, is begin by listing your hard skills and then your soft skills.
Unsure of what this means?
- Hard skills are measurable abilities. These can range from programming in Python language to knowing how to use Photoshop and InDesign.
- Soft skills are personal skills. They vary from attitude to flexibility, motivation and teamwork.
Listing your skills has its own peculiarities, so don’t pay this section less attention than the ones above it, especially if you’re a recent college student. Pay attention to skills specifically required at the job ad and if you have them, make sure to include them.
Here’s an example of how your skills section can look like:
#6: Include Any of These Optional Sections
Last but not least, come these optional sections.
Having them in your resume can earn you extra points and even separate you from the competitors, but only if they don’t make your resume longer than it should be (1-2 pages maximum) and if they are relevant to the job position.
Some of those sections include (but are not limited to):
- Languages: If you speak two or more languages, don’t fail to put that in your resume. To list them, simply categorize your proficiency level into native, fluent, proficient, intermediate, or basic.
- Hobbies & Interests: They can help humanize you and show a part of your personality that work and education can’t. If
- Volunteering Experience: Studies show that volunteering experience actually raises your chances of getting hired.
- Certification & Awards: If you have awards that make you stand out in your field or certifications from experts that are relevant to the position you are applying for, don’t hesitate to show them off!
Not sure how adding volunteering experience works? Check our article on how to list volunteer experience on your resume.
10 Chronological Resume Examples for All Industries
Now let us walk you through a few practical examples of what the chronological resume looks like depending on the industry.
#1. Business Chronological Resume
In the world of business, accomplishments matter. This is why in this business chronological resume, the work experience section is jam-packed with measurable information on what the employee achieved in his previous professional experiences.
#2. Computer Science Chronological Resume
Computer science jobs are heavily based on hard skills - in addition to your previous work experiences, that is. So, make sure to include your hard skills on your computer science resume to impress recruiters.
#3. Architect Chronological Resume
As you can see from the example above, the sections that follow your work experience and education can be placed according to your profile. If, for example, you’ve worked on some side projects that you feel do your resume more justice than your skills, feel free to prioritize those projects.
In this article, you can find what’s expected from an architect’s resume in more detail.
#4. Nurse Chronological Resume
Action verbs can really make an active professional like that of a nurse shine. So when you list your achievements under your experience, use strong verbs that can paint a picture of who you are and what you can do.
#5. Pharmacist Chronological Resume
With plenty of attributes up their sleeve, the chronological format is the perfect choice for a pharmacist’s resume.
#6. Project Manager Chronological Resume
Project manager resumes have good chances to show industry expertise - given they hold the manager title - and highlight successful projects. Feel free to do both in your chronological resume, as shown above.
#7. Web Developer Chronological Resume
As you can see in the example, the candidate has chosen to place his courses and training above his education. When you have followed courses or have been trained in the exact field of work where you’re applying, it makes sense to rank the field-specific courses and training higher than your university education.
This article has more information on how to perfect your Web Developer Resume.
#8. Teacher Chronological Resume
This is another “special” example of a chronological resume. Right after the experience section, the candidate has listed their volunteering experience. Not normally the case, it makes sense here because the volunteering experience has been as a tutor - which is pretty much the same thing as a teacher in the teacher resume.
In cases when your volunteering experience is directly connected to the job you are applying for, feel free to list it under professional experience as well.
#9. Bar Manager Chronological Resume
For more info on how to update your own bar manager chronological resume for 2023, this is the article for you.
#10. Human Resources Chronological Resume
The example says it all: the chronological resume does wonders showing the peak of your work experience first, and then going back to your professional history and skills. This article on the HR chronological resume has more tips on how to perfect it.
Discover More Resume Templates
And that’s a wrap!
Let’s do a quick recap of the main points covered in this article:
- The chronological resume - or reverse chronological - is a top choice among candidates with years of professional experience and a favorite among recruiters.
- The chronological resume focuses on your work experience, starting your current or most recent one, and following up with the rest - from most to least recent.
- Recent college graduates that want to use this format can - simply replace the work section with the education section, following the same reverse-chronological order.
- Save time and energy building the reverse chronological resume from scratch by using online resume builders, such as the one Novorésumé offers.