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How to Make a Chronological Order Resume with Templates

A chronological resume, also known as a reverse-chronological resume, is the most
popular format among job seekers and recruiters. As the name suggests, this
format puts your most recent employment first followed by the one before it
until you work your way back to your first job.

Recruiters and HR managers prefer this layout because it
gives them an easy way to digest an applicant’s career trajectory and it’s the
most widely used format so they’re more accustomed to it. Applicants prefer
this for the same reason; it highlights their career’s progression and increasing
scope of their responsibilities and skills. 

Chronological resume
A chronological resume is one of the most widely used resume formats. (Image Source: Envato Elements)

In this post we’ll explain what a chronological resume is and why it’s the most popular resume format. You’ll also discover how to write a chronological resume format yourself.

What Is a Chronological Resume? How Does It Compare to Other Resume Formats?

The table below summarizes the main differences among the
three formats. Most notable of all the differences is how the functional format highlights skills relevant to the job,
regardless of when and where the applicant acquired them.

The combination resume format is flexible, which makes it
hard to distinguish from other formats sometimes. In most case though, a combination
resume starts with a functional layout that includes a qualifications summary
or career highlights followed by a list of skills relevant to the job. After
that comes the chronological part: the work history and education section. 

The following table shows a comparison between the chronological resume format, the functional resume format, and the combination or hybrid resume format: 

 Section

Chronological Resume Format

Functional Resume

Combination or Hybrid Resume
Format

Resume’s Focus

Applicant’s career trajectory and current or last employment

Skills

Combination of the applicant’s skills and professional experience

Work experience section

Listed just below the professional summary, and includes a
bullet-point list describing the candidate’s skills and accomplishments

Relegated to the bottom of the resume, and only lists the employer’s
name, job title, and employment duration.

Work history is listed after the skills section

Advantages

Easy to comprehend, highlights applicant’s career trajectory

Conceals applicant’s lack of career projection, or employment gaps if
any.

Combines the advantages of the two formats

Disadvantages

Too common

Suggests the applicant is hiding something. Recruiters not used to
this format may find it confusing to read

Not suitable for applicants with limited work history

Recommended for

Suitable for all candidates

Entry level candidates with zero job experience, career changers or
transitioners, applicants with employment gaps

CEOs and executives with a long career history

Chronological Resume Format

Here’s a list of all the sections a traditional chronological
resume format needs in the correct order:

  1. Contact information
  2. Header
  3. Introduction
  4. Education
  5. Skills
  6. Additional Sections

Use a Professional Resume Template

Before we dive into how to write a chronological resume, let’s take a quick look at resume templates. One way to make sure your chronological resume looks good is to use a professional template. We’ve got a number of professional resume templates available for purchase on GraphicRiver. If you’ve got an Envato Elements subscription, you’ll have unlimited access to a variety of professional resume templates. The resumes from both of these sources have numerous features to build a chronological resume, functional resume, or combination resume. 

Resume templates
You’ll find numerous chronological resume templates and more on Envato Elements.

Many of these templates also have additional creative options for displaying your portfolio, include a well-branded cover letter template, and more. All these features can help you stand out visually and land that job you’re applying for! 

Here’s a sample of a professional resume template that’s available on Envato Elements:

Resume Brandon
The Resume Brendon template can be found on Envato Elements and includes a matching cover letter.

Now let’s take a closer look at how to write a chronological resume.

How to Write Different Sections of a Reverse-Chronological Resume (with
Examples)

1. Contact Information

Write your full name, email address, telephone number, LinkedIn
profile URL, website (optional), and home address. You don’t have to list your
complete address; many applicants just list the city and state where they live.
Include your professional designation or license number in this section, if
your job requires a professional license.

There’s no exact layout for this section because it varies according
to the resume template you’re using, or how much information you’re willing to
disclose. Including your complete address, for example, will take up more space
compared to just writing the city and state, making this section a few lines
longer. Adding labels, such as “phone number,” “email address” or “address”
beside the information will take up space too.

Brief contact information example:

Annie Smith

(XXX) XXX-8620 | Annie.UXdesign@gmail.com| San
Jose, California

Contact information with
license and labels:

Mary Williams, CPA

Contact info:
(XXX) XXX-5421|Mary.Williams@gmail.com

Address: 28
Bollinger Road San Jose, California

Website: SanJoseCPA.com
  

2. Header

A header includes your current or target job title and your
professional tagline or unique value proposition. It’s optional but it’s a
great way to describe the benefits of hiring you
or distinguish you from other candidates with similar experience. Since many
applicants don’t have a header on their resume, having one already puts you
ahead of the competition.

Chronological resume example header for a Senior Marketing
Executive from
GreatResumesFast.com

Sample-header-reverse-chronological-resume

Reverse chronological order resume example header for a
Quality Assurance Manager 

Resume example header

3. Introduction

You have three options: a professional profile, a summary of
qualifications also known as career highlights, or a career objective. Each
type of introduction has its own pros and cons so the best option will depend
on where you are in your career.

Career Objective

Tells the employer about your professional experience and
educational background, and how that’s related to the job you want. Career
Objectives are often thought off as an outdated way to start a resume but there
are situations where it’s a good choice, such as if the applicant is switching
careers or has an unclear career path that needs explaining.

In the example below, the applicant is implying that the
bartending and wait staff experience gained through restaurant work could be
useful in a flight attendant role.

Example:

“Front of the House
Associate with 3 years lounge and bar operations experience for upscale
restaurants. Seeking to apply customer service and hospitality management
experience in a flight attendant role for United Airlines”

Qualifications Summary

This is recommended for applicants at least three years of
experience who aren’t planning to switch careers or industries. It highlights
your most notable achievements or skills so you can get them hooked long enough
to read through the rest of your resume. Think of it as the written equivalent
of your elevator pitch.

You can write this as a paragraph, a list of bullet points
or a combination of both. If you’re going to write a paragraph though, keep it
short and use bold formatting to emphasize important keywords.

While there’s no specific rule about the type of
achievements or skills you can include, you’ll have a better chance of
impressing recruiters if you’ve got a wide range of career achievements:

  • Management
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Efficiency
  • Job-specific

Example
Qualifications Summary for a Chronological Resume:

Here’s what the example above would look like if the
candidate isn’t switching careers to become a flight attendant.

  • Front of the House Associate with 3 years lounge and bar
    operations experience for upscale restaurants
  • Increased bar revenue by 7% after creating a new cocktail
    promoted during the summer season
  • Well-versed in recommending craft beers and wine to pair
    with food
  • Social and conversational skills honed through serving upscale clientele
  • Worked well with a diverse team of wait staff, cleaning crew, and chefs

Professional Profile

A professional profile is a structured hybrid version of a
career objective and qualifications summary. It’s structured because the main
points of the profile don’t change regardless of your experience level.

What to include in a
professional profile:

  • First bullet point. Job title and how many years you’ve been working in that capacity. If you’ve
    held the same role with multiple employers, write the total number of years
    you’ve worked in that role.
  • Second bullet point. Areas of expertise or a specific task where you excel
  • Third bullet point. Job-specific and transferable skills recruiters would expect from someone in your
    role.
  • Fourth bullet point. Your proudest achievement

Example Professional Profile of an HVAC Technician:

  • HVAC certified technician with 5+
    years of experience in commercial building maintenance and management.
  • Installation, repair, and
    maintenance of commercial grade air-conditioning and heating systems
  • All-around technician with
    knowledge of plumbing repairs, general electric repairs, wall coverings and paintings, as well as coordinating with
    other licensed vendors for repairs and maintenance.
  • Organized inventory of all working
    units and spare parts to avoid unnecessary expenses and minimize downtime of
    HVAC units that need repair 

4. Professional History

Write your job history in reverse-chronological order,
careful only to include jobs within the last 10 years or those relevant to your
target position.

If you don’t want to exclude former positions or if you’ve got too many previous jobs to list, you put this in a separate section called “Early Employment” or “Previous roles.” Organizing your
employment history in this manner puts the focus on your recent roles and
accomplishments, without risk of employment gaps or loss of transferable skills you may have acquired in
those early roles.

Information to
include in each job entry:

Job title

Use the widely-accepted version of your job title to avoid
confusing the ATS or the recruiter reading your resume. Fancy titles like “Customer Success Manager” or “Customer Service Hero” are starting to
go mainstream, but it’s advisable not to use them as the only job title listed.
If you’ve got a creative job title and you want to put it in your resume, at
least include the industry-accepted version of it in parenthesis to satisfy
both the ATS and recruiters. Spell out abbreviated job titles, too.

Examples:

  • Assistant District Attorney (ADA)
  • Customer Support Hero (Customer
    Service Associate)
  • Head of Storytelling (Director of Marketing
    Communications)
  • Advanced Alcoholic and Drug
    Counselor (AADC)
  • Clinical Nurse Consultant (CNC

Company Name

Write your employer’s complete business name and the state
and country where your office is located if your employer had multiple
branches. It’s also useful to include this for jobs where licensure or
certification affects your career prospects.

Employment Duration

List the month and year when you started working and
terminated your job contract for each role.

Short Job Description (Optional)

Write a short description if your employer is relatively
unknown, or if your job title is somewhat vague. Include a brief introduction
explaining the industry you’re in, the customers you serve, what you do at
work, and how that contributes to your employer’s business.

Example:

Product Writer at Rebel Alliance,                      June 2016 to Present                                          

Rebel Alliance is an online clothing store serving the
steampunk and rock fashion market. The Product Writer role includes researching
trending products in our niche and using that information to write descriptions
for the apparel and accessories we sell on our website.

Bullet point list of achievements

Pick achievements and skills mentioned in your target job
then include action verbs and keywords when you write them as bullet points.
Read this guide to find out how to write your professional history and achievements. You can also find easy to use and professional looking resume templates in our resume template roundup.

Example Professional History Section for a Soon-to-Graduate Nurse
from East Carolina University.

Resume History Section

Almost every role only lasted a few months, but that might be
because they’re internships, it’s just not disclosed to avoid the impression
that the student has no “experience.
The variety of clinical settings and responsibilities add credibility to the
application. 

 5. Education

The general advice is to include only your highest level of
education, but that may backfire on you if a recruiter or the ATS system they
use is searching for applicants with a specific undergraduate degree. To be on
the safe side, just list all your higher education experience in reverse
chronological order.

What to include:

  • Type of degree: B.S., B.A., M.A,
    M.S
  • Your Major
  • Name and location of your school
    (if overseas)
  • Relevant academic awards or
    distinctions: Dean’s list, Summa cum laude, etc.

Example:

  • MA in Creative Writing, University
    of Manchester
  • BA in Creative Writing, Auburn
    University

Don’t include coursework information or your GPA unless you’ve got few with related work experience.

Ongoing education, such as seminars or online courses may be
included in this section below the details of your formal education or in a
subsection specific for ongoing education. Like your collegiate experience,
this should also be written in reverse-chronological order to present a
consistent narrative throughout your resume.

  • What to include when listing ongoing education:
  • Name of course, seminar, conference, or certification
  • Name of organization that
    conducted it
  • Duration (if applicable)

Some conferences or online training providers aren’t
well-known enough for recruiters to recognize them. You can boost the
credibility of these credentials without listing the whole event schedule or
course syllabus in your resume by linking to the specific webpage of the
training.

Read this guide for more information about writing the education section of your resume.

6. Skills

A typical chronological resume puts the skills section after
the professional experience section, but some layouts put this section in a
separate column on the right or left-hand side of the resume. Whatever layout
you use is fine, as long as you include all the skills required for your job. 

Example for an E-commerce Web Developer:

  • E-commerce platforms: Shopify,
    Woocommerce, Magento, BigCommerce, and Demandware
  • Programming languages: JSON,
    jQuery, PHP, XML, HTML, Java,
  • Technical skills: database
    management, APIs, Front-end development,
    responsive web design, Photoshop
  • Collaborative and receptive to
    criticism

You can also categorize skills according to their type or relevance.
Don’t forget to sprinkle different synonyms of your skills elsewhere on the
resume. For more information about writing this section, check out this guide:

7. Additional Sections

Resumes aren’t rigid documents, so go ahead and add any of
the sections here as long as they’re relevant to your career. Adding these
sections not only adds keywords and skills to your resume, it also bolsters
your professional experience, especially if you’re switching careers or a fresh
graduate.

  • Professional memberships
  • Certifications
  • Portfolio
  • Publication
  • Volunteer work or creative
    projects
  • Industry awards
  • Extra-curricular activities

Example of extra-curricular
activities for a relatively an
accounting graduate:

extra curricular activities

See
how the extra-curricular activities show the graduate’s potential and skills as
an accountant?

Example of a list of certifications for a
Dental Hygienist:

  • Registered Dental Hygienist,
    Florida –2011 – Present
  • Radiology Certified, Florida – 2011
    – Present
  • X-ray Certified, Florida – 2012 –
    Present 

Be Flexible and Creative

There’s no one formula for creating a perfect chronological
order resume as it all depends on your professional experience and career
goals. For example, if you’re a fresh graduate with zero relevant work
experience, then listing your education before your work history may work
better for you. Don’t be afraid to make strategic changes to the layout and content of your resume, as long as those changes showcase the best of your
qualifications. To learn even more about resumes, study our ultimate guide on creating a great resume