• How to Write a Resume
  • The 3 Main Resume Types
  • Functional Resume
  • Combination Resume

Chronological Resume

A chronological resume is one of the three main resume types, and is one of the simplest to create. In this type of resume, your work history is listed with either your current job or the most recent position you’ve held listed first. Hiring managers typically prefer chronological resumes over functional or combination resumes because it is easy for them to see what positions you’ve held and how long you held them. Is a chronological resume the right choice for you? Let’s take a closer look.

Ideal for Spotlighting Work History

If you’re considering a chronological resume, you’ll be glad to discover that this particular resume type is straightforward and fairly quick to create. While functional resumes place an emphasis on your accomplishments and feature only a brief summary of your work history, chronological resumes are the opposite, with other elements taking a back seat to your employment history.

When to Use a Chronological Resume

Chronological resumes are best for people who have a strong work history. If you are new to the workforce or have been out of the workplace for an extended period of time, it is likely that a functional or combination resume will work better for you.

When to Consider a Different Type of Resume

Some employers prefer a Cv, a functional resume, or a combination resume. If you are not certain which type of resume will yield the best results, contact the hiring manager and ask which type of resume the company prefers to receive. In addition, consider using a different type of resume in the following situations:

Key Elements of a Chronological Resume

While chronological resumes focus mainly on work history, they may contain some additional elements as applicable to your individual situation and the position you are applying for. In addition to a detailed job history listed in reverse chronological, consider including some of these useful elements in your resume:

You might notice that some of these elements are identical to those found in other types of resumes. Just remember that a chronological resume emphasizes job history, and keep other elements concise.

Ready to write your own chronological resume? See examples and view chronological resume templates here.

You Should Probably Be Using a Chronological Resume—Here’s What It Is and How to Make One

Hot jobs on the muse.

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If you don’t organize your resume properly, it’s all too easy for it to look like a bunch of mumbo jumbo. And when all those words and numbers blend together into a big mess, you make it that much harder for a recruiter or hiring manager to see the point in bringing you in for an interview.

That’s where the chronological resume format comes in.

What Is a Chronological Resume?

You know what a resume is, right? A one-pager documenting your work experience, education, skills, and extracurriculars that paints a nice clear picture of what makes you a valuable employee or hire?

Well, a chronological resume does that by listing your work and other experiences in reverse chronological order, meaning your most recent jobs are at the top of your resume and your least recent jobs are down below. (This is why it’s sometimes called a reverse chronological resume—because that more accurately explains what’s going on.)

That doesn’t mean that everything you’ve ever done gets listed exactly in reverse chronological order, though. If you have jobs that overlap in a certain timeframe, for example, you might choose to list the job that’s most relevant to the role you’re applying for first, regardless of when you started it.

It’s also pretty common to put your education and activities in their own section or sections, rather than mixing them in with your work experience. If you went to graduate school or have multiple education experiences, you’d still list them in reverse chronological order within your education section, for consistency.

Who Should Use a Chronological Resume?

The beauty of this layout is that it works for just about anyone looking for any kind of job. Students and new grads tend to lean on this format because it’s the simplest way to organize their limited work experience. The same goes for professionals at any level with a consistent career history—in other words, those who’ve gone from job to job without gaps (or with very few gaps) between roles.

A chronological format is also the most popular layout hiring managers see. That means if you go with this format, your resume will be easily understood by any type of recruiter out there.

What’s in a Chronological Resume, and How Does It Differ From Other Resume Formats?

A chronological resume includes the following:

The way these items are organized is simple: Your work history goes toward the top—because it’s the main focus—with each role listed in reverse chronological order. Your education, skills, and activities fall toward the bottom or off to the side of the page—except if you’re a new grad, in which case you may list education at the top.

Other formats, like a functional resume or combination resume , include these same elements but in a different layout. A functional resume groups your experience and responsibilities not by role but by skill, and lists your jobs and education at the bottom. A combination resume, on the other hand, is a mix between a functional resume and a chronological resume, highlighting both your skills and experience in equal measure. Both of these layouts are less common than a chronological resume and are used most often by career changers, people with unique career paths, and people who have taken long breaks between jobs.

How Do You Write a Chronological Resume?

The best course of action for writing a chronological resume is to start off with a rough outline (or use a template ). In your head or on paper, list out every work-related experience you’ve had. Based on that information, decide how you want to sort that information and how many “sections” of your resume you want to create. You’ll most likely include several or all of the sections listed in bullets above (more or less in that order).

Once you know the layout, start to plug in your information in reverse chronological order, including with each job you’ve had your title, company (and sometimes company location), dates of employment, and three to five bullet points explaining what you achieved and the skills you built in that position.

If you’ve never written a resume before, definitely take a look at this comprehensive guide to making a resume for more thorough advice.

What Does a Chronological Resume Look Like?

OK, so this all sounds good and dandy to you, but you’re still not sure exactly what this looks like in practice. Don’t fret—here’s a sample chronological resume you can use as a reference when you decide to make your own.

chronological resume defined

Download an Example Chronological Resume

Anything Else I Should Know About a Chronological Resume?

How you format your resume is only half the battle. The other half is about making sure the content itself is in tip top shape—because that’s what recruiters are reading, after all. This means that your bullet points should start off with strong action verbs and showcase your accomplishments rather than just your duties.

Don’t forget to tailor your resume to the role you’re applying for—make sure your bullet points match up with the qualifications and responsibilities in the job description, and that you’re including relevant keywords the company’s applicant tracking system, or ATS , may be scanning for. And of course, check (and double check) your information for spelling and grammar mistakes.

One more note: Try keeping your resume to one page, unless you’re at least a decade into your career. Hiring managers love to skim resumes, and long ones tend to turn them off. Save all the little details you can’t fit into your resume for your cover letter and interviews.

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Chronological Resume: The Best Format? (And How to Write It)

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chronological resume format - definition and how to write it

If you’re wondering whether you should use a chronological resume format (also referred to as reverse-chronological resume format) or trying to get help with how to write it, then this article is for you.

And if you’ve been told to use a functional resume because you’re changing careers or have a work gap , then this article will help you, too! (And my advice on this topic might surprise you).

Here’s what you’re going to learn:

Definition: What is a Chronological Resume?

A chronological resume is a resume format that lists your work experience based on the dates it occurred. Working downward from the beginning of your Work Experience section, you should start listing your most recent positions first. So the top of the section will contain your current or most recent job. Below that on your resume will be your next most recent job.

This is how to write a chronological resume, which is also commonly called the reverse chronological resume. (They’re the same, just different terms. Always start with your most recent job at the top of your Work Experience. Here are some examples ).

What is Reverse Chronological Order?

As mentioned above, reverse chronological order means that your previous jobs are listed in order of date, beginning with your most recent position at the top. Your final entry in the list should be your oldest or least-recent position.

Note that you’re not obligated to list every job on your resume! You can choose where to begin telling your career story, or whether to omit a certain job for strategic reasons (for example, if it was only a three-month position, and isn’t related to your current career path).

So I’m not suggesting that you must start with the first job you ever held. However, once you’ve chosen a starting point for your resume work history, you should list those positions in reverse chronological order as described above.

Chronological Resume Example:

If you’re still not 100% clear on what chronological order on a resume looks like, here is an example work history section from a chronological resume:

Work Experience IBM (2019-Present) Senior Product Manager Brief paragraph describing the role. Don’t write too much here, because you should mostly show your accomplishments and work via bullet points Accomplishment 1 Accomplishment 2 Accomplishment 3 Microsoft (2016-2019) Product Manager Brief paragraph describing the role. Two or three sentences is ideal, and you should try to put numbers and metrics whenever possible. Accomplishment 1 Accomplishment 2 Accomplishment 3

Notice that the most recent or current job is listed at the top of the work history, and then you move downward for each previous job.

So now you know what a chronological resume looks like, including a real example/template you can use! Next, I’ll explain why recruiters and hiring managers prefer this format, and why it will get you more interviews.

Should Your Resume Be Chronological?

After recruiting for 5 years, I can say without a doubt: Yes, your resume should be in chronological format.

The first reason that your resume should be chronological format is: this is what hiring managers and recruiters are accustomed to seeing and prefer.

Functional resumes are confusing and difficult to gather info from.

When I worked as a recruiter, I had multiple hiring managers send a functional resume back to me, and tell me to have the candidate rewrite it in chronological format. They simply don’t want to read a functional resume because they cannot gather enough info from it.

(If you don’t know, a functional resume lists your skills and past work without any dates. It groups them by skill type or functional area and not by chronological order. So that’s the definition of a functional resume).

This deprives hiring managers and recruiters of important info and context. They’re not as able to understand your career story or see how recently, or for how long, you used certain skills. Therefore, they are less likely to feel confident in inviting you to interview.

(Hiring managers want to interview people who are likely to be able to step into the job and succeed. They want the necessary info to make that decision before occupying their time with an interview).

So, with each online job getting hundreds of applicants, there’s no reason for a hiring manager to struggle to understand the one or two functional resumes they receive. They’ll just move on to a resume that’s written in the format they prefer – which is chronological.

When is a Chronological Resume Not Advantageous?

Many experts will tell you that a chronological resume is not advantageous when you’ve had gaps in your work history, when you’ve had a non-traditional or unusual career path, or when you’re attempting to change careers.

However, even in these cases, most hiring managers will prefer a chronological resume if it’s well-written.

You can explain work gaps right in your employment history section.

You can tailor your work experience to show the pieces of work you’ve done that are most relevant for the job you’ve applied for now… even during a career change. 

For more help with this, we have a full article on how to write a resume for a career change. If you click that link, I explain more about why a functional resume isn’t ideal, and one of the career coaches who I featured in the article confirms it. To quote her:

As a former corporate recruiter, I am not a fan of functional resumes. Recruiters are taught to scan resumes chronologically. When you take the experience out of context or “order,” it often gives the recruiter the impression you are trying to hide or fudge experience.

The bottom line is: Trying to hide the dates and order of work will only frustrate and confuse hiring managers and cost you job interviews.

So my answer to, “Should resumes be chronological?” is a resounding “Yes.”

Now that we’ve covered what differentiates a chronological and functional resume, and which you should be using if you want to get more interviews, let’s talk about how to start writing it!

How Do You Write a Chronological Resume?

To start writing your resume, make sure you understand the format and have reviewed the chronological resume example from earlier in this article.

Then, here are the steps to write your chronological resume:

1. Enter company names, dates of employment, and job titles

You can list dates in terms of years, or months and years. Whatever you decide, keep it consistent. 

You can also list the city/state of each job if you choose. This is also optional and is a personal decision when setting up your chronological resume.

2. If you held multiple roles within a company, show each job title separately on your resume 

This is important so that employers can see that you advanced/progressed in the company. Recruiters typically love this!

Here’s another example of a chronological resume, where you can see two distinct job titles listed under one single employer. This person was promoted from Sales Rep to Branch Manager.

sample resume work history

3. Write bullet points describing each role you’ve held

Each role should have multiple bullet points describing what you accomplished and did for the employer. (Not just saying, “responsible for ___”.)

It’s much better to start with a verb like, “led six team members…,” or “grew our department revenue by…”)

This article has resume bullet examples to help you.

4. Write a brief paragraph to describe each role (above the bullet points)

This is optional. As you can see in the resume example above, it’s possible to go directly from job titles to bullets, without any paragraph content. 

However, if you’d like, you can write a brief paragraph about what you did in the role overall. This can provide more context to the reader.

However, this paragraph should be concise, and you should never put it instead of bullets. I recommend 2-3 sentences at most. The bullets are more important and will be read more closely.

5. Add metrics and data when possible

You’ll get more interviews by being specific and talking about results on your resume, rather than responsibilities. So try to pack your bullets with metrics… like dollar amounts, percent increases, number of people you led or trained, etc. 

You don’t need to be in sales to have metrics! (I hear this common objection a lot).

For example, if you’re an editor for a company’s news blog, you could write:

“Edited and published 30 articles per month for the company blog, which was read by 40,000 people each month and generated an average of 10 qualified leads for the business.”

The more specific you can be on your resume, the better. So if you see an opportunity to add facts, data, and metrics in any of the paragraphs OR bullets you’ve written, do it.

Here’s another example of how to write about results rather than responsibilities:

Which sounds more impressive…

A) “Responsible for leading the customer service team and handling all inbound requests for the company”

B) “Led the 22-person customer service team which handled 250+ inbound requests per day via phone and email”

That second option is going to grab attention and get you more interviews from top employers.

6. Add other necessary resume sections

After you’ve written your professional experience in chronological order, you then need to fill your chronological resume out with the other key sections, including:

If you need more help understanding what order to put these in, and how everything fits together in the “big picture” of your resume, this article has more info on the important sections of a resume.

7. Consider adding optional sections

You can also include one or more of the optional resume sections on your chronological resume:

sections of a resume and titles - skills

If you read everything above, you now know why the chronological resume (also called reverse chronological resume) is the format that employers prefer.

It shows the important information that they want to see in your work history, including information that functional resume formats don’t include – like how recently you did each type of work, and for how long.

Without this information, many employers will not be interested in interviewing you.

They just can’t possibly know enough to determine whether you’re a good potential fit for their job. So at best, they’ll ask you to send a chronological resume instead, and at worst, they’ll invite other candidates to interview and you’ll never hear from them.

So that’s a scenario that we want to avoid, and you can do that by writing your professional experience in reverse chronological order.

By combining this with sections detailing your skills, your education, and other key qualifications, you will get more callbacks when you apply for jobs so you can find a new job faster.

If you want to see more resume examples and advice, this article has 3 more work experience examples that follow the advice above.

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Biron Clark is a former executive recruiter who has worked individually with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.

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What Is a Chronological Resume?

Eric Ciechanowski

Employers and job seekers alike often favor chronological resumes, which basically act as timelines centered on work experience. Hiring managers find their standard format convenient for locating desired information quickly, and candidates often consider chronological resumes easier to construct than other types of resumes because of their predetermined order for listing roles. As an added benefit, chronological resumes tend to do well at satisfying Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) because of their traditional, straight-forward style.

Chronological resumes present work experience according to when each job happened, going from present to past. Since employers want to get to the “good stuff” right away, positions get listed in reverse chronological order—meaning your current job (or the one you most recently held) takes the top spot under the heading for that section. From there, readers can essentially reconstruct your career progression by reading down the page to see the other jobs that led to where you are now.

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Highlighting Qualifications

Chronological resume entries must tell more than places and dates. Each needs to convey what the role encompassed and what you achieved. By doing so, employers grasp how individual experiences contributed to your overall qualifications. Bullet points work well, as do short-yet-descriptive paragraphs. Use action verbs that tell employers they’re looking at a go-getter who gets things done. Similarly, include quantifiable information to paint a vivid picture rather than relying on boring clichés.

Additional Sections

And while work history may stand out on a chronological resume, other vital information must also be included. At the very least, employers expect an “education” section. (Because students and recent graduates usually lack significant experience, they appropriately place this section higher than work history.) Then, depending on your industry and qualifications, add pertinent groupings, such as “skills,” “certifications,” and “volunteer work.” Some job seekers also choose to include a career objective, qualifications summary, or similar introductory material.

Chronological Resume Format

The top of any resume starts with the candidate’s name and contact info. From there, a chronological resume launches into work history with a bold heading such as “ Professional Experience.” Each entry under the heading should include the name of the employer and location, the job title, and the period the position was held. After this standard information, vividly but succinctly describe duties, responsibilities, and achievements. Include other relevant sections that support your candidacy.

A chronological resume may look like the following example:

JANE A. CANDIDATE 123 Main Street Anytown, USA 12345 [email protected]


Led group activities (prepared and read stories, directed games and art activities)


Experiment with spacing, wording, fonts, italics, capitalization, and underlining to achieve a visually attractive resume. Likewise, customize headings to fit what you want to highlight. Check out our resume database if you need inspiration.

When to Avoid a Chronological Resume

A chronological resume works well for someone with a vertical career path in which positions keep leading up to higher roles within the same industry. But not every job seeker’s trajectory falls into place that way.

Employment gaps and excessive job-hopping are both more noticeable on a chronological resume than on other types. Likewise, people who are switching fields do not particularly want to draw attention to the fact that a substantial amount of their work experience has little to do with the position at hand. In such cases, experts often recommend a functional resume in which skills receive top billing and employment history falls to the bottom of the document.

Whether chronological or otherwise, be certain your resume clearly showcases your best selling points. Before sending out, confirm it is free of errors, contains appropriate keywords, and is tailored to the employer’s specific needs. Enlist a trusted set of eyes to proof and provide honest opinions. Better to hear suggestions beforehand than for hiring managers to pass you over!

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Home Resume Help What Is a Resume?

What is a Resume? Definition and Purpose

Conrad Benz

A strong resume communicates your qualifications and sets you up for career success. Here’s a full breakdown of what a resume is (with a concise definition), why resumes are important for job seekers, and what makes each type of resume unique.

A blank resume with seven bullet points on a clipboard, may make the reader wonder what a resume is and what sections to include

What is a resume?

A resume (or “ CV ” outside of the US) is a formal document that provides an overview of your professional qualifications, including your relevant work experience, skills, education, and notable accomplishments. Usually paired with a cover letter, a resume helps you demonstrate your abilities and convince employers you’re qualified and hireable.

The spelling of resume originates from French, and means “summary.” To this day, the purpose of a resume is still to provide employers with a summary of your relevant qualifications.

If you’re applying for a job, you need at least a resume to be considered for the position.

On a base level, a resume is made up of the following five parts:

Example of a resume

Not sure what a US resume should look like? Here’s a resume example written by a candidate with a few years of work experience:

In the above example, the candidate manages to fit all their qualifications onto a single, neatly organized page.

If you have fewer than 10 years of work experience, your resume’s length should always be one page . However, if your career is decades long, you should use a two-page resume because it gives you enough space to highlight all your relevant accomplishments.

What is the purpose of a resume?

The purpose of a resume is to show employers you’re qualified for a position and convince them to offer you an interview.

Many job seekers wrongly assume their resume should provide a full overview of their professional history.

Instead, think of your resume as an advertisement of yourself. Your resume should only emphasize your most relevant experience and skills, and highlight your most notable strengths and accomplishments.

If your resume quickly makes your ability to handle the work clear to hiring managers, you’ll catch their attention and get more interviews.

What to include on a resume

Skip to 1:24 in the below video to hear from an expert what you need to include in a resume:

To expand on what the expert says, what you should put on your resume depends on the job you’re applying for and your relevant professional background.

At a minimum, be sure to include these sections on your resume :

Types of resumes

A common misconception is that there’s only one way to write a resume . There’s actually a variety of formats, and each resume format is used to emphasize different resume sections.

Depending on your specific skill set or work history, one format might be better suited to highlight your qualifications than another.

There are four main types of resumes :

To help you understand the differences between each resume format and decide which is the best for you to use, here’s a detailed breakdown:

1. Chronological resume

A chronological resume opens with an introduction, and then provides an overview of your professional history in reverse-chronological order (meaning your most recently held position is listed at the top).

The chronological resume format is the most common type of resume used by job seekers today, and is suitable for candidates with various experience levels.

Example of a chronological resume

an example of a chronological resume with a professional design, the candidate has a moderate amount of work experience

2. Functional resume

A functional resume is formatted to focus on your skills and abilities rather than your career progression. It’s preferred by professionals who want to draw attention away from their traditional work experience, such as those who are changing careers or have significant gaps in their work history.

While similar to other resume formats, functional resumes are unique in several ways:

Example of a functional resume

An example that helps illustrate the definition of a functional resume by using distinct skill categories

3. Targeted resume

A targeted resume is a resume you write with a specific position in mind.

Use this format to clearly highlight the skills and experience you have related to the position — writing each part of your resume in a way that best emphasizes your necessary qualifications.

To write a strong targeted resume, scan through the job listing for the position you want to fill. Typically, hiring managers include the skills, responsibilities, and traits that they want candidates to possess directly in the job description. Showcase these qualities on your resume to demonstrate you’re an ideal fit (if you have the mentioned qualities).

4. Combination resume

A combination resume is a format that combines aspects of a functional resume and a chronological resume.

While a chronological resume focuses heavily on experience and a functional resume emphasizes skills, a combination resume typically balances both work history and skills equally to demonstrate your qualifications.

Combination resumes are ideal for candidates who have extensive experience or a highly developed set of skills that they want to showcase.

Example of a combination resume

An example of a combination resume, with a formal design and simple blue header

Why resumes are important for job seekers

Your resume is an essential part of the hiring process and the base requirement to be considered for a position.

A good resume is the first part of your application any hiring manager will see, so it’s important that it conveys your qualifications accurately and convincingly.

Your resume should offer employers a quick overview of your relevant skills, employment history, education background, and accomplishments. Based on this information, they can make an informed decision about whether or not they want to interview or hire you.

It’s no secret that you won’t get far looking for jobs without a resume, meaning that as a job seeker it’s a necessary document that you’ll need sooner or later. If you’re ready to get started, simply download your favorite online resume template and begin writing!

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Conrad Benz

Written by Conrad Benz

Conrad Benz is a Digital Media Specialist & Resume Expert at Resume Genius, where he helps countless job-seekers craft standout resumes and launch their careers. His... more

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CVs & Résumés

How to Write a Strong Chronological Résumé (with Example)

Find out how you can write an impressive chronological résumé using the tips in our writing guide.

Adele Weeks

Adele Weeks

CV and Recruitment Specialist

Writing a Chronological Résumé

A chronological résumé is commonly used to showcase candidate experience and achievements when applying for employment opportunities . Since its emphasis is on employment history, without it, it can be particularly challenging to highlight your experience in an orderly manner. 

So, if you have defined your career objectives, and you want to make a lasting impression on a potential employer and boost your chances of securing an interview, a good résumé will do just that. The way you choose to highlight your skills and experience could make all the difference! So how do you structure your résumé in the right way? In many cases, a chronological format might be the best choice.

Here we have compiled a complete guide, together with some  key résumé tips , to help you get started and, hopefully, land your dream job!

What is a chronological résumé?  

The chronological approach is a frequently used résumé format and one that you are likely to be familiar with. This type of résumé lists your employment details and working experience in reverse chronological order, with your recent experience presented first, and usually on the first page. 

This configuration offers a straightforward and simple approach to introduce data clearly and concisely by prioritising relevant professional experience and achievements.

A chronological résumé is generally the preferred format of recruiters and hiring managers since it allows them to see what job roles you have held and for how long. It also enables them to access information on your most recent undertakings quickly. 

Who should use a chronological résumé?

Since chronologically structured résumés are perfect for spotlighting your career history , it works for just about any jobseeker in any industry. However, this is a particularly good option for you if you have substantial working experience. It is also the preferred format of students and graduates as it offers a simple way to organise and highlight limited work experience .

Although the chronological layout can be used to apply for jobs in a range of industries, it is particularly useful if you are seeking employment in your current industry or a role that is similar to your current position. In these cases, recruiters can see that you have experience in your field and that you possess the skills and expertise they are seeking. 

You might also want to use a chronological résumé if you're going to draw attention to your career progression; The format allows potential employers to understand how you have gradually worked your way up the ladder and moved to roles with greater responsibility .

However, if you wish to change careers , have several gaps in your employment history or limited working experience, you might want to consider using an alternative format, such as the functional or combination résumé . 

What should you include in a chronological résumé? 

So, how should you  structure your résumé ? Since the format focuses primarily on working experience, it is crucial to include a detailed career summary. However, several other key aspects should also be covered, such as: 

Just like all other résumé formats, a chronological structure should list your details at the very top. That way, recruiters can access your contact information at a glance. You should start with your name, location, email address and telephone number. There is no need to include the word 'Résumé' on the document since this is redundant . 

2. Personal profile

When  writing your résumé , there are several ways to outline your critical skills and experience. With a chronological résumé, it is crucial to start with a compelling profile that can grab recruiters' attention. Your personal profile should summarise your objective across three to six lines, and include things like experience, qualifications, skills, industry knowledge, and familiarity with relevant tools and software.  

3. Skills section 

When writing in a chronological format, it's crucial to emphasise the skills that you can bring to the table. This is where the skills section comes in. Generally, this should be in the form of short bullet points below your personal profile. To make an immediate impact, it is best to keep each point under three words. It is also advisable to avoid using soft skills like organisation, and multitasking since these are often a cliché and therefore, a waste of valuable space on your résumé.  

4. Work experience 

It's always good practice to include your  working experience near the top of your résumé. Employers are particularly interested in what you are currently doing, and this enables them to view your career summary at a glance. We recommend using bullet point format as this improves the readability of the résumé, making it easier for hiring managers to locate relevant information. This could increase your chances of getting shortlisted for a role. 

5. Key achievements 

Recruiters today see scores of résumés on a daily basis, so what better way to stand out from the crowd than by highlighting your key achievements? Not only will you distinguish yourself as an achiever, but this will emphasise the impact of your work and show employers what you could do for them.

For example, if you are a sales superstar that increased annual revenue by 45%, list this as a key achievement! Maybe you are a marketing guru that has increased website traffic by 5000 visitors per month, again, be sure to mention this as it will impress your next potential employer.  

6. Education and qualifications 

When writing a chronological résumé, it is vital to accentuate your education and training  towards the end. Not only will your credentials demonstrate that you are a perfect fit for the job, but they will also show your commitment to professional development and your willingness to learn and progress in your career. 

What does a chronological résumé look like?

By now, you should have a good idea of what to include in a chronological layout, but what should it look like? This type of résumé should be professional in appearance and presented in a way that will attract reader interest. Here's an example of a chronological résumé for some inspiration, based on one of our professional résumé templates .

Example of a Chronological Résumé

In the above sample, the work experience is listed near the top since this is the primary focus, with the employment details listed in reverse chronological order. 

You will also see that the sample starts with a personal profile, which, as stated previously, is crucial to grab the reader's attention from the get-go. This is paired with the skills section, which offers hard skills such as ‘complaints resolution’ and ‘business development’ as these are more substantial terms than 'teamwork’ and ‘communication’. 

Other details, such as education, are at the bottom as they are of lesser importance for an experienced candidate with notable expertise and achievements. 

Putting together a chronological résumé may not be extremely challenging, but it can be somewhat time-consuming. However, if you want to promote yourself to employers and land your dream job, it will certainly be time well-spent. 

Would you use a chronological format? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published in 12 May 2017.

Résumé Formats

Using the chronological resume format

Karl Kahler

The chronological resume format is your first port of call when it comes to writing a professional resume. The first few moments that a hiring manager looks at your resume will set their first impression. That's why it's important to identify how and when to create a chronological resume - or rather, a reverse chronological resume - in the right way. 

Let’s dig a little deeper into the format to see if it’s the best choice for you. This guide will cover:

Using a chronological resume to find a job

When to use a chronological resume

The term chronological resume is a bit of a misnomer, as this format actually puts employment history and education in reverse chronological order. That means you list your last or current job first, and your first job last. 

Likewise, when using chronological order in reverse, you list your highest educational achievement first and earlier milestones below that. 

The reverse chronological resume format is the one most commonly used, as it generally showcases a candidate’s most impressive experience first. If you’re a brain surgeon looking for a new position, it wouldn’t make much sense to start off your employment history with your first job at McDonald’s. 

What is chronological order?

What's the difference between chronological resumes and other resume formats?

The primary alternative to the chronological/reverse chronological resume is the functional resume format , which focuses on your experience and skills rather than a time-based narrative of how you acquired them. The hybrid resume format uses a combination of these two approaches.

So based on these differences, who should be using a reverse chronological resume and who shouldn't? Let's look at an example. You may be a professional accountant who is looking for an “exit strategy” to pursue your longtime passion for photography. If you’re preparing a resume to promote your experience doing wedding, event and real estate photography, it would make little sense to provide a detailed chronological list of your past jobs as an accountant. In this case, a functional resume emphasizing your photography experience would be a better choice. However, if you decided to stick to your day job and find a new accounting role, then the reverse chronological would be the best fit to show off your previous accounting employment.   

Do resumes have to be chronological?

Most resumes are chronological, but you can also use a functional resume or hybrid. It depends on your experience and what would suit best based on whether your career has been seamless (chronological) or you have embarked on a career rollercoaster (functional/hybrid)

Best resume format 2023 (+free examples)

There are 3 common resume formats: chronological, functional, and a combination. Here's how to choose the right one for you.

Why do we use reverse chronological resumes?

The short answer is that the reverse chronological resume format is what many hiring managers know and expect. As we have already discussed, the best resume format depends on your role and circumstances. However, the reverse chronological format has secured itself as the default format in a range of industries. 

As a result, hiring managers can read through chronological resumes and digest the information quickly. The reverse chronological resume format is a neat way of putting the most relevant information near the top of the document. That means minimal scrolling and searching before the hiring manager can get a snapshot of what they need to know. 

The chronological resume format is usually the best one to use if you have years of continuous experience in the field in which you’re seeking a job. This is especially true if you followed a more or less “normal” career path in which you progressed from an entry-level position to progressively more senior posts.

This format is usually used by people with a proven track record in their field, especially those who can demonstrate contributions they’ve made to their previous employers’ business. The emphasis is on experience, which is the main thing that employers are usually looking for in a job candidate. 

There are several advantages to this resume format, including:

Every coin has two sides. So what are the disadvantages of a chronological resume? There are some potential cons to using this format as well, including:

If these disadvantages outweigh the advantages, you may want to consider using a functional or hybrid resume format.

Is a chronological or functional resume better? 

The answer is that it depends on your experience. If you have a clear career path without lots of gaps and you have been with employers for 1 or more years, a chronological is the best option. However, if you've had a lot of temporary roles or gaps on your resume, you may want to consider a functional resume.

The structure and format of a chronological CV

A chronological resume (or CV, as this document is known outside the U.S. and Canada) should follow this basic structure and format:

•  Header: Contains your name, occupation, address, email and phone number.  • Summary/profile: 3-4 lines at the top of the page summarizing what you do and why you’re good at it. • Employment history: A listing of your past jobs (last job first, first job last), with bullet points on what you achieved at each one. • Education: Your formal educational experience (highest degree first) and any certifications in your field. • Skills: A short list of the hard and soft skills that make you good at your job. • Optional sections: Membership in professional organizations; hobbies and interests; references

Here is how a chronological resume should look .

Google Project Manager

Writing the employment history section

The employment history section is the main part of a resume where the reverse chronological format applies. In this section, list your current or last job first. Include the name of the company where you worked, the city, state and/or country where it’s located, what you did there and the years you worked there. (Precise dates are not needed.)

Under each employer, add a bullet list that describes what you did at each job. Don’t just say what you were “responsible for,” but what you actually accomplished. Be specific, using facts and figures wherever possible (dollar figures, percentage growth, number of employees you managed, number of clients you handled, etc.) Use strong action verbs: “managed,” “spearheaded,” “created,” “sold,” “organized,” etc.

You don’t have to include every job you’ve ever had, especially if they’re unrelated to the field in which you’re seeking employment. Include your most impressive and relevant jobs.

Do employers prefer chronological or functional resumes?

Most employers prefer chronological, as it is much easier to read than a functional resume. The hiring manager can quickly see your career path. Function resumes can be a bit more of a challenge to dissect. The easier you can make it for the reader, the better!

How to write work experience on a resume

Learn exactly how to describe work experience on a resume. There are specific formats that hiring managers and recruiters prefer, here they are!

Writing the education section

The education section is the other part of your resume where the reverse chronological order needs to be used.

For example, if you have a Ph.D., list that first, along with the university, the field of study, and the year you earned the degree. Follow that with the same info on where you obtained your master’s degree, and below that do the same for your bachelor’s degree. 

If you have a postsecondary degree, it’s generally not considered necessary to mention where you went to high school, although if you have room, it does no harm.

The education section can also be used to mention any certifications in your field, for example if you are a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or a certified public accountant (CPA). Participation in job-relevant continuing education classes, seminars and workshops can also be listed here, as well as membership in honor societies, clubs or extracurricular activities related to your field. If you had a stellar grade point average or graduated with honors, you can also say so here. 

Tips for making the most of the chronological format

By using the chronological format, you are telling a story in reverse order. This may feel a bit unnatural, but if you review some of the hundreds of resume examples at Resume.io, you’ll see that this is totally normal. 

Strive for visual balance and distribution in your resume, so that, for example, you don’t have one huge section and several tiny sections.

Remember that a resume/CV should almost always be one page only, so you need to be judicious about what to include. If you have extensive job experience, or if you’re highly educated, it may be impossible to list all your achievements and credentials.

Bullet lists, in particular, can take up a lot of vertical space. Consider arranging bullet lists in side-by-side columns, or simply summarizing your accomplishments in one text block (“Graduated magna cum laude ; 3.8 GPA; member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society”).

If you’re still having trouble fitting everything onto one page, avoid resorting to formatting tricks like using a tiny font size or making the margins too small. Look for “widows” on your page, which is where one or two words spill onto a second line, making your resume one line longer. Thoughtful trims can usually eliminate these space-eaters.

If you experiment with different resume templates, you may also find that simply choosing a different template will make your resume fit onto one page.

Chronological resume summary

If you have years of continuous work experience in the field or industry in which you’re seeking employment, then the reverse chronological resume format is probably the right one for you. This will focus on your experience while also detailing your skills and education.

Remember some of the key takeaways when using the chronological resume format:

There is a wealth of resources available to you when you embark on writing a resume. These will provide you with examples and templates to get you started. You then just need to add the specifics about your professional background.

Why are many recruiters suspicious of functional resumes?

The reason recruiters are suspicious of functional resumes is that they may feel that you are trying to hide the dates of your employment. 

How to write a cover letter with no experience

What Is a Functional Resume?

Definition & examples of functional resumes.

Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts.

chronological resume defined

Maddy Price / The Balance

A functional resume focuses on skills and experience rather than on your chronological work history. It's typically used by job seekers who are changing careers or who have gaps in their employment history.

Learn more about functional resumes and how to develop one.

What Is a Functional Resume? 

A functional resume showcases an applicant's skills. It may start with a summary of qualifications followed by a list of a candidate's skills and examples of using those skills.

For example, you might list "Leadership" as a skill, then follow that with examples of when you've shown leadership. For example, you might say, "Managed the sales department of five staff members. Increased sales by 25% in six months."

This is different from a  traditional, chronological resume  that displays a timeline of your work experience with brief explanations of each job. As a result, the focus is shifted from job titles and the amount of time that has passed to the actual skills you possess.

Another resume option is a combination resume , which uses a chronological format but highlights the skills you showed in each position.

How a Functional Resume Works

A functional resume draws attention away from items that a hiring manager might find problematic. It de-emphasizes gaps in your work history or the fact that you're making a significant career change.

A functional resume is less commonly used than a chronological resume, which recruiters and interviewers generally prefer. If you don't have a reason for using a functional resume, opt for a chronological one.   Additionally, some applicant tracking software programs reject resumes without a chronological work history.  

Writing a Functional Resume

Here's how to approach writing a functional resume:

Example of a Functional Resume

This is an example of a functional resume. Download the resume template to develop your own resume.

Functional Resume Example (Text Version)

Jose Applicant 321 Jackson Street San Jose, CA 55555 (123) 456-7890 jose.applicant@email.com


Successful track record in the blood-banking care environment

Results-oriented, high-energy, hands-on professional with skills in management, quality assurance, program development, training, and customer service.

Key skills include:






Key Takeaways

Business News Daily. " How Do Functional Resumes Compare to Chronological Resumes? " Accessed June 28, 2020.

CareerOneStop. " Select the Best Format ." Accessed June 28, 2020.

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11+ Chronological Resume Examples in MS Word | Google Docs | Apple Pages | Photoshop | PDF

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chronological resume cover letter template

sample chronological resume

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Reverse Chronological Resume Templates [Ideal Format]

Reverse Chronological Resume Templates [Ideal Format]

Using a reverse-chronological resume is the way to go in the vast majority of cases. But only if you know exactly how to make this particular resume format work for you.

Maciej Duszyński, CPRW

As seen in:

Here’s the thing—

Even though there exist several different resume formats, the chronological resume is arguably the best choice most of the time.

Want to know why?

This article will show you:

Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes?  Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click.  See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here .

sample resume templates

Sample resume made with our builder— See more resume examples here .

If you just want to jump right to the section you’re most interested in, use the table of contents:

What Is a Chronological Resume?

Chronological Resume Template and Writing Tips

Chronological Resume Examples for 30+ Professions

Chronological resume example.

Michele J. Carden

Sales Representative


[email protected]


Resume Summary

Experienced Sales Representative with 5+ years in sales, marketing, and customer service. Motivated to support Visionix in driving growth and maintaining a high client satisfaction level. Skilled in relationship building, identifying customer needs, and delivering superior solutions. Successfully oversaw the launch of 3 new products for a multinational consumer goods company, resulting in estimated additional revenue exceeding $1 million annually.

Work Experience

Looksy, Inc., New York City 

April 2020–Present

Key Qualifications & Responsibilities

Key Achievement:

Vivid, Inc., New York City

August 2017–March 2020

Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing

New York University, New York, NY 

August 2012–June 2017


Language Skills

You can use this example as a wireframe. Read on, and learn how to write your own chronological resume. 

A  chronological resume  lists your jobs starting with the current or most recent one at the top, followed by previous ones below. This type of resume focuses on your work history and professional achievements.

Chronological resume is the best choice for candidates with a consistent work history.


The chronological resume format is arguably the recruiters' favorite.

A study from Jobvite  reveals that 92% of recruiters regard previous job experience as the number one hiring factor.

When you come to think of it—

Experience and job titles are exactly what a chronological resume brings to the reader's attention.

So, if you choose to format your resume in chronological order, you can rest assured the recruiter will find what they're looking for.

But remember:

Even the best-written resume will get you nowhere unless it reaches a human reader.

You need to realize that over 98% of Fortune 500 companies use Applicant Tracking Systems, or ATSs, in their recruitment processes.

The ATS’s task is to initially scan and score the deluge of resumes a typical corporate opening attracts. This way, recruiters can focus on reading the resumes that meet the most important criteria defined in the job offer.

Chronological resumes are easiest to scan for the ATS. That’s what gives this format an additional edge in today’s hiring.

Want to make 100% sure your resume passes the ATS scan? Read: ATS Resume: Template & 10+ Tips on How to Pass the Resume Test

Who Is the Chronological Resume Good For?

The reverse-chronological resume is most advantageous when:

That said—

You don’t have to have many years of experience to use the chronological resume format.

How’s that possible?

A chronological resume order is very versatile.

If you’re making a recent college grad resume , for example, you only need to rearrange the order of your resume sections , and put the education resume section first. Just make sure the entries in each section follow the reverse-chronological order.

And you’re pretty much done.

If you think none of the advantages of the chronological resume format would work in your case, consider opting for one of the other common resume structures :

Here’s a brief comparison of a functional vs chronological vs combination resume’s pros and cons:

Not sure if the chronological resume is the best format for your needs? Head straight to our detailed guide: Resume Format: Samples and Templates for all Types of Resumes (10+)

Here’s what sections a typical chronological resume template consists of:

Name and Job Title

Contact information.

Professional Experience

Let’s take a closer look at how you can make the most of each of these sections on your reverse-chronological resume:

Even though this section of a chronological resume seems like a no-brainer, it may get tricky when you start thinking about what job title you should put.

Your current one? Or the title of the position you’re applying for?

Obviously, the dilemma is non-existent when both of them are the same.

If you’re pursuing a consistent career path (and this is what a chronological resume is best for) including your current job title makes perfect sense.

But what if you’re applying for a job of a marketer and only have teaching experience?

Well, if you’re making a career change resume consider using a combination resume format.

You can also modify the job title section slightly, and write something along the lines of seeking the position of [job title].

Don’t add any job title at all not to confuse the recruiter about your experience.

Looking for more information on what job title to put on a resume? Read our guide: 450 Job Titles that Work on a Resume & Job Hunt [Current & Desired!]

The rule of thumb is for your contact information on a resume to be current.

Most of the time, listing your mobile phone number, LinkedIn profile on resume , and, obviously, email address will do.

Just make sure your email looks professional.

If you need more information on how to make the most of the top section of your chronological resume head straight to our article: Professional Resume Header Examples & Why They Work [20+ Tips]

Resume Summary or Resume Objective

The first section of your chronological resume that gives the recruiter a glimpse into what you can do is called a resume profile .

The resume profile may take the form of a resume summary or resume objective.

The summary focuses on your previous relevant experience, and so it’s suitable for candidates who’ve been in the workforce for at least 2 years.

In contrast, the objective highlights your skills, and works great on any entry-level resume .

Don’t have a clue how to go about writing your resume profile? Read our guides: Resume Summary Examples (30+ Professional Summary Statements) and 50+ Resume Objective Examples: Career Objectives for All Jobs (+Tips)

Beyond a shadow of a doubt—

This is the heart and mind of a chronological resume.

Here’s how to make the most ofyour work experience on any resume :

Need more advice on tailoring your resume? Head straight to our guide: 6 Tips on How to Tailor Your Resume to a Job Description (Examples)

When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check . Start building a  professional resume template here for free .

Create the perfect resume

When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.

Depending on how much (or little) experience you have, you may want to put your education above the experience section on your chronological resume.

Either way—

The education section should clearly communicate your value to the employer. 

If you have more than two years of professional experience, list only:

If you’re fresh out of school, you may consider adding information on:

You can find more information in our dedicated guide: How to Put Your Education on a Resume [Tips & Examples]

The skills section is an important element of your chronological resume template.

Obviously, there’s no need for you to organize your skills in the chronological order. You can just as well list them alphabetically.

What’s important, though, is to make sure the list of skills on your resume consists of the relevant ones.

Here’s how to get the skills section on your resume right:

Need more advice on how to put your skills on a resume? Here’s a guide you’ll want to read: 99 Key Skills for a Resume (Best List of Examples for All Types of Jobs)

Additional Sections

Putting additional sections on your chronological resume can always earn you extra points.

Just remember—

Relevance is the name of the game.

Only add the sections that may boost your chances. Here’s a couple of ideas:

Not really sure what sections to include on your resume? Read our guide What to Put on a Resume (20+ Good Things You Should Include to Win)

Chronological Resume Samples and Why They Work

Now, let’s have a look at two chronological resume samples: one for a junior position, the other for a more senior role, and see what makes them effective.

At the end of this section there’s a blank chronological resume template you can fill into write your own resume.

Chronological Resume Example—New Grad

Calvin Showalter

SEO Specialist


[email protected]



A forward-thinking graduate from Arizona State University with a BA in English and a passion for digital communications. Eager to join DigiMedia as Junior Content Developer to help devise and implement data-driven content strategies, as well as write shareable content loved by the readers. Strong background in writing and editing digital content. 3-month internship experience with SEO and digital content development.

June 2018–September 2018

Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Bachelor of Arts, English

Graduated summa cum laude

Relevant coursework:

Key achievements:

Even though Calvin has just graduated college and doesn’t have huge experience, he decided to choose the reverse-chronological format.

More than that—

He consciously put the work history section above the education section.

According to a recent Job Outlook Study from NACE , the top hiring factors that employers take into consideration when hiring recent grads are:

Calvin happens to have completed an internship in the relevant industry, and his chronological resume’s structure reflects the way employers assess candidates’ aptitude for the role.

If internship is what they value most, it’s exactly what they see first on Calvin’s resume.

Calvin gives a lot of attention to the education section, and the other sections as well.

The education section clearly shows that Calvin has a lot of potential for becoming a dedicated employee, and it's where he mentions his key achievements.

The position he’s seeking calls for strong communication skills and problem-solving skills , and this is exactly what Calvin highlights throughout the document. 

Here comes the other chronological resume example, this time for a more senior role:

Chronological Resume Example—Managerial Position

Matthew Gilchrist

Sales Manager


[email protected]



Results-driven and strategically minded sales manager with 4+ years of professional experience. Eager to join GHI Inc. to lead and inspire the sales team to delight the customer and expand into new markets. In previous roles consistently exceeded sales targets by 25% at the minimum, managed a team of over 15 sales associates, and brought in extra $200K revenue over the span of two quarters.

June 2017–

Key Achievements:

September 2015–June 2017

DEF & Co.

Penn State University, State College, PA

BA, Psychology


Matthew is an experienced sales manager.

He chose the reverse-chronological resume template to highlight his rich work history and key achievements.

Also, he uses bullet points to make his work history easy to scan.

The parts that recruiters pay the most attention to (i.e. job titles and achievements) are bolded to make them stand out.

In contrast to the previous example, the education section on Matthew’s resume has been reduced to the necessary minimum.

Rather than present the details of his college education, Matthew has chosen to include such sections as Associations and Certifications to show he treats his career development seriously.


You can use, modify, and adjust the placeholder template below to structure your own chronological resume:

Chronological Resume Template

[Your Name]

[Phone Number]

[Email Address]

[Resume Objective or Resume Summary]

[Job Title]

[Company Name]

[Company Name].

[Graduation Date]

[School Name & Address]

If you’re looking for beautifully designed, ATS-compliant chronological resume templates, well, you’re in luck. Head straight to our articles: Blank Resume Templates: 15+ Best Blank Resume Forms to Fill In Now   and Word  Resume Templates

Here’s a list of reverse-chronological resume examples for some of the most popular jobs in 10 different industries:

Administrative Jobs

Sales and Customer Service

IT and Programming 

Students and Recent Graduates

Education and Teaching


Finance, Business, & Human Resources 

Marketing and Advertising


Haven’t found what you’re looking for? This is where you can find a chronological resume example for any profession and career: Resume Examples for Every Profession

Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here.  Here's what it may look like:

matching set of resume and cover letter

See more cover letter templates and start writing.

Key Takeaways

Here’s everything you need to know about writing a chronological resume:

Do you have any questions about writing a chronological resume? Maybe you’d like to share advice on how to get everything right? Give us a shout out in the comments below. We’re always happy to help!

Maciej Duszyński, CPRW

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Chronological Resume Template

The chronological resume format prominently displays your employment history, with your most recent work experience listed first. Featuring work history makes it easy for hiring managers to quickly scan your resume to see whether your skills and experience align with the requirements of the open role.

Despite its popularity, the chronological format — sometimes referred to as the reverse-chronological resume or standard resume format — isn’t for everyone. We will cover the following topics to help you decide if it is right for you:

What is a chronological resume?

Who should use the chronological resume format.

A chronological resume is one of the three types of resume formats . This format lists your work history in reverse-chronological order, placing your most recent job first and your previous roles in descending order from there.

According to a recent survey, three out of four hiring managers in the U.S. prefer the chronological resume format because it is easy to scan and helps them gauge if a candidate is qualified for the role.

Unlike the combination resume format or the functional resume format, the chronological format, by definition, places the most emphasis on an applicant’s work history. In short, experienced applicants should use a chronological resume versus a functional resume, which is more appropriate for inexperienced applicants. Here is how a chronological resume should look:

Structure of a chronological resume

You should use the chronological resume format to apply for a job if:

Pros and cons of using a chronological resume:

For other examples of resume formats, see our combination and functional format pages.

Chronological resume template and examples

Free downloadable chronological resume template.

As you learn how to format your resume , using one of our premium or free resume templates can help. Our templates ensure that your resume is properly formatted and organized. We offer modern , professional , creative and simple templates to suit every job seeker and industry. Check out our full selection of resume templates , or download the template below for free and insert your resume information.

Chronological resume example

Whether you are applying for a job in nursing , customer service , engineering or IT — or any other field — studying chronological resume samples can be beneficial. Find a sample chronological resume example for the job title you seek and learn how to write a resume that will get you noticed.

How to Write a Chronological Resume and Tips for Every Section

Tips for writing the resume header:.

Tips for writing the professional summary:

Tips for writing the work experience section:

Tips for writing the skills section:

Tips for writing the education section:

How do you list your resume in chronological order?

List your work experience on your resume in reverse-chronological order, with your most recent position, working backward in time. Generally, you should only include jobs from the past 10 years. Follow the same arrangement for your education section, with your latest, most advanced degree (or coursework, if you haven’t completed your studies yet) presented first.

Does resume work experience have to be in chronological order?

Yes. In a chronological resume, regardless of the resume you choose, your work history is always presented in reverse-chronological order. However, if you have gaps in your work experience or lack extensive experience, you may want to consider a functional resume, which focuses on your abilities and skills.

Do you put work experience or education first on a chronological resume?

In the chronological format, work experience will appear first. This allows you to show hiring managers that you have the necessary experience to excel at a new job. Like your work history section, the education section should start with your most recent degree or accomplishment. You should include information about your degrees, relevant coursework, notable achievements and certificate programs.

How can I make my resume stand out while using the chronological resume format?

There are three main ways to make a chronological resume stand out. They are:

Should I include jobs where I’ve had a short stint?

It depends. Most experts agree it’s best to stay with a company for at least two years because it shows a level of commitment and a thoughtful understanding of your own career path. But if one or two of your jobs lasted a year or less, it is OK to add them. Just be prepared to confidently and clearly explain why they were short-term stints during your interview. You can also address any such concerns in your cover letter. However, if you’ve had several short-term jobs throughout your career or within one year, then a functional resume format is a better option for you.

If I’m changing careers, can I make this format work for me?

Absolutely. You can make the chronological format work for you if your career change entails applying for the next step up from your current role, and you have a track record of stable work experience and a clear path of advancement in the industry. For example, if you’ve been a construction worker for five years and want to apply for a project manager job, it’s acceptable to use the chronological format. However, if you are a nanny and want to apply for an administrative assistant position, you should use the functional format.

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chronological resume defined

Chronological Resume - Writing Guide With 5 Free Templates

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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.

Chronological Resume Structure 

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. 

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:

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: 

Functional Resume

Combination Resume

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 

Creative Chronological Resume Template

#2: Modern Chronological Resume Template 

Modern Chronological Resume Template

#3: Professional Chronological Resume Template

Professional Chronological Resume Template

#4: Functional Chronological Resume Template

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: 

#2: Add a Resume Summary or Resume Objective

  Second in the chronological resume comes your ‘profile’ as a candidate, which is expressed through a resume summary or a 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:

Here’s a close-up of a work experience section in the chronological resume:   

reverse chronological work experience

#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: 

#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? 

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:  

skills on chronological resume

#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):

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

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 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 

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  

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 

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 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

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 

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 

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

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

Key Takeaways 

And that’s a wrap! 

Let’s do a quick recap of the main points covered in this article: 

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chronological resume defined

Do you know the differences between a functional and chronological resume? We have the details to help you know which format is best for you!

Functional vs. Chronological Resume: Differences & Similarities

First job, next job, summer job, temp job. It doesn’t matter what kind of job you’re applying for. You’re going to need a resume .

While most people do not relish writing one (professional resume writers excluded), as a rule of thumb, resumes are relatively easy to create. Simply sum up your work history, right?

Well, that’s not exactly the case . A resume is more than an accounting of your jobs.

And, for those who have a gap in their employment history , you may not want to advertise that gap during the application stage. After all, you’re more than a series of jobs, and you want to demonstrate that to the employer. At the same time, you don’t want to be dishonest about your work history.

What are job seekers supposed to do?

Functional vs. Chronological Resume

At its core, a resume is a summary of your employment history, professional skills , and relevant experience.

But a resume is more than a summary of you. A resume helps recruiters size you up. It’s an easy and concise way for them to see at a glance if you’ve got what they want in a candidate. An interview will help determine if you’re the right fit for a job, but a well-written resume helps get you an interview .

Here’s a quick description of a standard, chronological resume and a functional resume. Learn what each entails, and then we’ll discuss how to determine which type of resume you should use.

Chronological Resumes

When you use a chronological resume , you start at the top, then work your way down and backward . After your name, contact information, and optional summary, you list your work history, starting with your current or most recent job. For each job, you list where you worked, the dates you worked, your title, and all of your job duties. Working your way backward, you cover your employment history until you’re out of jobs (or space).

Functional Resumes

The key highlight of a functional resume vs chronological resume is that functional resumes are skills-based . Instead of starting with your current job and moving backward, a functional resume focuses on your skills and abilities , instead of your job history.

Generally, a functional resume starts with your name and then a summary of your achievements and accomplishments, similar to the summary statement on any resume.

After the general summary is the “skills” section. You create broad skills categories , then list specific examples of those skills. For example, you might have a “Sales” skill category with bullet points like, “Achieved salesperson of the month for nine straight months; Increased new sales to new clients by 15% year over year,” and so on.

At the bottom is your work history. However, unlike the chronological resume, on a functional resume, you only list the name of the company, your title, and your dates of employment. You do not list your job duties.

Note: A functional resume is not a CV. A CV (curriculum vitae) is similar to a functional resume in that the emphasis is on your achievements rather than your work history. However, a CV is more about awards you’ve won and papers you’ve published than your job history, though job history is often listed on a CV.

Pros and Cons of Different Resume Formats

Those are the basics of each resume style. However, you can’t just point to one and say, “I like it!” and start writing. Each resume format has pros and cons you should consider before committing.

Chronological Resume Pros and Cons

Chronological resume pros.

There are several pros to using a chronological resume. For starters, it’s the most common and widely used resume. Recruiters are used to seeing it and this format makes it easy for them to scan your resume and see at a glance if you’re a good fit for the position.

Recruiters also feel that a chronological resume does a better job explaining your background and skills . Paring what you learned with where you learned it helps give your work history context . And, that context is what can help land you in the “interview” pile.

They are also the preferred format for applicant tracking systems (ATSs). While you should have a keyword-rich resume no matter what resume format you use, ATSs are usually programmed to look for certain headers and other criteria to scan your resume. This programming is generally based on a chronological resume. If you use something other than a chronological resume, an ATS may not see your keywords because it doesn’t know where to look.

Lastly, using a chronological resume may make it easier for you to update your resume or even write a resume from scratch. Much like a recruiter can see your skills in context on a chronological resume, you too may have an easier time remembering what you did at each job when you’re focusing on what you accomplished and where.

Chronological Resume Cons

The chronological resume does have disadvantages. The first is that a chronological resume makes employment gaps obvious . And, there’s no way to hide it. No matter what your reason is for dropping out of the workforce, some employers will see the gap and pass you over.

The chronological resume is also not the best resume template for people who are changing careers . Sure, you may have a lot of experience in accounting, but how does that help you as an aspiring supply chain director? It can be difficult to express why you’re changing careers and how you can transfer your skills on a chronological resume.

Functional Resume Pros and Cons

Functional resume pros.

In some cases, a functional resume may be a better choice for you. The first advantage of this format is that if you have a large gap in your work history, a functional resume de-emphasizes that by putting the focus on your skills.

Functional resumes are also good for career changers because, again, this format de-emphasizes your work history . In a functional resume, you can talk about the relevant skills you’ve gained from an unrelated position. Or emphasize the new skills you’ve learned through volunteering, taking classes, or even just trying things out on your own.

Functional Resume Cons

However, before you craft a functional resume, you should know that they, too, have their disadvantages. Perhaps the most important con of a functional resume is that recruiters do not like them . Fair or not, when a recruiter sees a functional resume, they worry that you’re hiding something. While that may not be the case, that’s still a problem.

Also, when you’ve seen (or scanned) 20 chronological resumes in a row and number 21 is functional, it slows things down, and that can frustrate the recruiter.

And, as mentioned above, your skills are out of context to a recruiter. Instead of looking at your skills first, most recruiters are likely to drop down to your employment history first, to try to gain some context about who you are and why you’re applying for the job. If they can’t connect the dots from employment history to skills easily, they’re likely to put you in the reject pile.

A Better Option: Hybrid Resume

Consider using a hybrid resume in place of a functional resume (or even a chronological resume).

According to Betsy Andrews, Career Coach at FlexJobs, a hybrid resume “includes an achievements section, but also provides a bit of information under each position,” which helps gives context to your resume .

The top of a hybrid resume is a summary of your skills. However, instead of using broad categories, you pick a key skill and highlight it quickly with a brief sentence or two. For example, you might say, “Sales skills: Top salesperson for three straight quarters while increasing new business to new clients by 15% each year.”

After highlighting your top three or four skills, move on to your employment history using a chronological format. However, don’t list every bullet point from your job description. Instead, list the most relevant duties to help highlight your selected skills.

So, you might write, “XYZ company, New Business Sales, dates you were employed: Responsible for prospecting new leads through various methods. Streamlined client communications to help build and maintain relationships, thus increasing retention.” Repeat this until you’ve reached the beginning of your work history.

In this hybrid format, you are emphasizing your skills without de-emphasizing your work history . Yes, an employment gap will be visible, but it won’t be as important because you’ve front-loaded the resume with your relevant skills.

An Employment Story Worth Telling

Ultimately, a resume is the story of your work history, achievements, and skills. While it’s not a riveting beach read, a well-written resume can help you get an interview, which can lead to a job. Of course, like any story, a poorly written one will end up lost or forgotten about.

While you don’t want your story to read like everyone else’s, using a familiar format is important when you’re job searching. It may not be your first choice, but it can be your best choice. Don’t let flaws in your story scare you. There are plenty of resume templates that help you tell the best story possible to recruiters and can help highlight why you’re the best person for the job.

We’ve got more advice on how to improve your resume . And advice on how to craft an amazing cover letter so you can tell even more of your story. And, if you’re looking for a little bit of guidance along the way, consider working with our career coaches who can give you tons of personal resume writing advice.


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  1. Complete guide on how to write a chronological resume

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    With CV Simply, you can easily build a perfect Resume. Create a professional resume in just 15 minutes easily. CV Simply is one of the best top Resume builders.

  21. Résumé

    A résumé, sometimes spelled resume (or alternatively resumé ), [a] [1] also called a curriculum vitae (CV), is a document created and used by a person to present their background, skills, and accomplishments. Résumés can be used for a variety of reasons, but most often they are used to secure new employment. [2]

  22. Chronological Resume

    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.

  23. Functional vs. Chronological Resume: Differences & Similarities

    The key highlight of a functional resume vs chronological resume is that functional resumes are skills-based. Instead of starting with your current job and moving backward, a functional resume focuses on your skills and abilities, instead of your job history. Generally, a functional resume starts with your name and then a summary of your ...