When you consider that an employer spends on average six seconds looking at each candidate’s resume, it becomes clear that you need the right style to get yourself noticed. By far the most common format for a resume is the chronological one, and it’s usually the style preferred most by employers also.
The chronological resume gets its name from the professional experience section whereby the candidate lists all of their previous roles in order from the most recent to the least recent. These are usually accompanied by specific dates in a month and year format with a detailed description of each role underneath.
These resumes are intended to give a snapshot of your work experience and show that you’ve held steady employment over the years, and perhaps even indicate how long you worked in what position before you were promoted or given more responsibility.
Although they might sound simple, there’s still a lot to learn about perfecting the chronological resume so it can get your foot in the door and land you an interview with your potential new employer.
Who Should Use A Chronological Resume
Whether you’re new to a field altogether or have years of experience working, a chronological resume is usually the best approach. For most job seekers and employers this is the preferred style of resume, and so it suits most people, however, there are some who should avoid this type altogether.
Anyone who has had large gaps of unemployment in their history might be best to avoid this and instead use a functional resume.
Parents who have been raising children, carers who looked after sick family members, and those who spent years traveling and left their 9 to 5 job will find it best not to list positions in a chronological order and rather explain these absences in the job interview stage.
However, for any other job seeker who has a relatively straightforward career history that can be shown in corresponding dates, the chronological resume is your best option. This means the six seconds that a recruiter spends looking at your history will focus on the most important recent roles you have and see if they’re relevant to the job posting or not.
Benefits Of A Chronological Resume
So, what is it that makes the chronological resume the top pick of both recruiters and job seekers? There are a few benefits to using this format for your resume that just can’t be offered by the other styles.
It Sells Your Upward Mobility
The best benefit to using a chronological resume and having your roles ordered in date format is that it shows your motivation and willingness to develop your skills. If each job shows an improvement in title or new responsibilities, it’s evident to the hiring manager that this is a career path you are genuinely interested in.
Shows A Clear Picture
A chronological resume gives a great overview of you and your career when you’re not able to tell it yourself. This is a succinct and easy to read document that shows the employer exactly where you were and at what point in life.
It’s Widely Accepted
Most hiring managers will prefer the chronological resume as it shows you have nothing to hide, and you have a far greater chance of being even considered for the role if you have your resume in this format.
It Helps You Tell Your Story
When you get the stage of an interview, having a chronological resume can be a great guide for explaining your career thus far and where you intend on going next with it. This shows exactly where you started out and in what roles you were able to get the relevant skills and experience.
Tips For Writing A Chronological Resume
If you’ve decided that the chronological resume is the best way to show off your assets as an employee, there are a few things you have to do in order to perfect it. Here are some essential things to remember when writing a chronological resume:
Start From The Most Recent
You might think this is a no-brainer but it’s a simple mistake that has gotten many resumes sent to the rejection pile. Always begin with your most recent position and be sure to state if you are still working there by using “present” as the end date of employment.
Use Months And Years
When writing in the dates of employment, using just the year alone is too vague. Recruiters like to see the exact months of your tenure so they can tell how long it was and when it was you switched to your next role.
Separate Promotions Or Job Changes
If you’ve worked for the same company for years but held different titles during that time, be sure to mark these down as new roles and separate them by month and year format as well.
As always with a resume, the key is to proofread it a few times at least to ensure you haven’t missed any mistakes. Spelling and grammatical errors are the easiest things to fix and the first thing that will get your resume rejected if they’re present.
Perfecting Your Resume For The Job You Want
There’s no one style of resume that’s going to suit every job seeker, but if you have a straightforward career history then the chronological resume is best for you. These tell a great story to potential employers about where you’ve been and where you intend to go, and they ensure nothing is hidden.
Chronological resumes have long been and will continue to be the preferred format for recruiters and job seekers, so there’s no need to try and stray from the pack just to stand out. These offer a simple and effective way to show your skills and experience and make it easier to read for those who have many resumes to consider