If you have no employment gaps and can show a steady progression in your field, the chronological resume format will likely work well to present your work history in a logical, easy-to-read fashion. It’s the most commonly used resume style and therefore is the most familiar to hiring managers. With a chronological resume, you can show your career growth from job to job while highlighting your achievements in each position.
To begin, list your previous positions in reverse chronological order. Remember that a typical employer is most interested in what you’ve done lately and how well you did it.
In the chronological resume format, create an entry for each job in the Work Experience section and include the following:
Company name and location
Period of employment
The Importance of Using Bullet Points
Since it’s important to be as concise as you can throughout your resume, using bullet points rather than large blocks of text will make a better impression on readers and keep their attention longer. Bullet points provide an appropriate amount of white space in the chronological resume format. Based on how much room you have, which will in turn depend on the number of jobs you’re including, use five to eight bullet points for each job.
List Accomplishments, Not Duties
Avoid beginning sentences with the words “Responsibilities included.” Generally, your job title alone indicates what your responsibilities were. More importantly, an employer is more interested in what you’ve achieved as opposed to whether you’ve simply met expectations. As you create the bullet points for specific jobs, keep in mind that each one should represent a positive accomplishment that demonstrates how you exceeded the expectations of your potential employer. By referring to the job description, you can see what the employer is looking for, so if you’ve had related accomplishments in your past jobs, describe them.
Because your resume is more formal than your cover letter and must be concise, avoid the use of first-person pronouns including “I” and “my” as well as “we.” In the instance of bullet points, the use of incomplete sentences, such as “Reduced turnover by 37 percent,” is actually preferable. Also, in this example, take note that the bullet point begins with an action verb and shows measurable results.
List Your Best Achievements First
In the chronological resume format, you have the opportunity present your qualifications in an ordered fashion that lets a hiring manager see you as an ideal candidate. You never know if your resume is being read or just quickly scanned, so for each job, put your strongest achievements that reflect the employer’s needs first. If they’re only reading the first couple of bullet points, you want them to have an impact.
You Don’t Have to List Every Job You’ve Had
Even if you’re a seasoned professional with 30 to 40 years in the workforce, most employers find only the last 15 to 20 years of experience to be relevant. While you may have a lot to offer an employer, you don’t always need to mention your first job.
By using the chronological resume format, you’ll have the opportunity to illuminate your work history in a way that shows growth and accumulated experience within a field.
If you’d like to see how others have done it or for more resume advice, LiveCareer’s variety of helpful resources may be just what you need to stay on the right track.