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Chronological resume guide

Chronological resume guide

Part 1 of 3: All about the chronological resume style. What to include, when to use it, and how to create a high-impact chronological resume of your own!

What is a chronological resume?

Use a chronological resume to apply for a promotion or when searching for a new job in a related field or function.

The word chronological means 'time', and refers to the presentation of your work history and achievements in reverse order from most recent to oldest. By contrast, the alternative functional resume and combination resume styles present work history and achievements according to clusters of functional skill areas.

Regardless of the resume style you choose, remember to tailor your resume to each job application by altering the content and selecting the style that best communicates how and why you are the right person for the job. Your resume is your personal sales document, so invest the time to make sure it says all the right things about you.

When should I use it?

Here are a few situations where a chronological resume style is often appropriate:

Impressive career history

You've worked for some impressive organisations, perhaps you've moved up quickly through the ranks, or maybe you're proud of the transitions you've successfully made along the way. A chronological resume style makes all these things stand out!

Loyalty, duration and stability of employment

You've held each of your jobs for at least a year, preferably two, and you have few or no gaps in your career history. The chronological style highlights how much time you've spent in each role, and makes it obvious when you've been out of the workforce. If you are a stable, reliable performer, now is the time to communicate it!

'Traditional' employment

You've become experienced through paid employment (rather than volunteer work, school assignments or through other experiences).

Career progression

You're moving up the career ladder in your field. The duration and type of positions you've held clearly tell the reader that you've got the ability, desire and skills to do the job!

Prestigious employers

When the names of your past employers carry a lot of weight in your field, it makes sense to use them to your advantage! A quick scan of your chronological resume will reveal that you've been employed by some really impressive organisations!

Conservative industry

In some industries employers really don't like receiving functional and combination resume styles. What matters to them is knowing how long you've worked in each particular role, how fast you've moved up the ranks, the path your career has taken and many other useful pieces of information that become obscured if you choose one of these alternate formats.

You plan to use a recruiter or a job board

Recruiters also typically favour a chronological resume style for the reasons outlined above. Some online job boards that ask you to enter your information into their custom-designed forms only accept data in a chronological format.

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