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How to Write a chronological Resume?

While you might think of a resume as being a singular type of document, there are actually many types of resumes. When you are preparing to apply for a new job, it's generally a good idea to know what kind of resume will be expected by the hiring manager. If your field requires you to use a chronological resume, you should consider the information below.

What is a Chronological Resume

When you think about a resume, you're generally thinking about a chronological resume. This is the format that most people are taught in high school and the format that most recruiters tend to see in most industries. This is the typical resume type that lists all of your work experience in a reverse-chronological order, starting with your most recent position and working back from there. It is typically very useful for those with long, steady work histories and tends to be avoided by those who switch jobs frequently or who have long periods of unemployment.

Basic Formatting

You are probably already familiar with the basic format of a chronological resume, but it's always useful to go back and cover some of the basics. Your resume will start with your basic contact information, which should include both a phone number and an e-mail address. After this, you'll typically include an introduction or an objective statement - this is less necessary if you include a letter of recommendation, but it can be a helpful way for you to gather your thoughts as you put the final resume together.

From this point, you'll begin listing your previous places of employment and positions in reverse chronological order. If you've held several positions, this can be quite lengthy. Each position should be accompanied by a date of employment and a brief list of job duties and accomplishments. Most generally follow this section with some kind of listing of educational credentials, followed by a list of any addition relevant skills. For most entry-level applicants, a good chronological resume can be completed in a single page. For those who have been working longer, it is generally acceptable to extend this type of resume by an additional page.

Writing Descriptions

The most difficult portion of a chronological resume tends to be the descriptions that accompany each position. Most people can sum up what they've done for the past few years in just a few words, but potential employers want to know what you've done that will make you an asset to the company. As such, these sections can often verge on outright boasting - you need to sell yourself by listing your marketable achievements, usually using action words that will catch the attention of anyone reading the resume. This is not a time to be modest, so feel free to speak plainly about what you have accomplished.

A good description will, when possible, include verifiable numbers. While most hiring managers are used to seeing their candidates use a bit of puffery in their description, one thing that can't be embellished is an honest figure. If you have improved sales for your former company, for example, provide the numbers. If you have saved your company money, include how much you saved down to the dollar. Even if your biggest accomplishment was managing a small team, it can help to let your potential employer know exactly how many people you managed.

Special Situations

There are special situations that can slightly change the formatting of a chronological resume. Perhaps the most common is when the resume is used by a student. Generally speaking, students have fewer job listings, but they often apply for positions in which their education is more important. In these situations, make sure you list your education above the professional experience and go into detail. List factors like your GPA, your course of study, and even the degree type if your are a recent graduate. This may be more helpful to your potential employer than your job experience.

You may also have to change some of the formatting if your potential job relies on data that falls outside your list of previous jobs. If the job listing requires you to have specific certification, for example, it's better to list that certification before any kind of professional experience. Likewise, it may be better list to data like publications before your professional experience if your publishing history is more relevant to the job than what you have been doing for the past several years.

The chronological resume is an important document to get to know, if only because it is used in so many fields. It can be slightly altered to fit your personal needs, but at the end of the day it will tend to follow the format listed above. Once you're comfortable with the format, you can write one of these resumes with ease.

Joost
My name is Joost and I have been active as a recruiter for the past 5 years. At Resume.io, I share my experience, tips and the "secret" tricks to help you get a job. Do you have questions? Please send me an email via the contact form.