There are three styles of resumes in use today: combination, functional and chronological. Each style has its strengths and weaknesses. The chronological resume is most effective for individuals that are looking for a job that logically follows the progression of their careers.
Because a resume is like an advertisement, job seekers want to use a format that best highlights their job skills, and accomplishments. Each format has a distinct set of advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the right resume depends on two critical factors:
- The amount, consistency, and depth of work experience accumulated so far in a career.
- How well the target job is aligned with past work experience.
The Chronological Resume
Immediately below is a complete listing of each section appearing in a chronological resume. At the end of this article, there are links to a sample document that can be downloaded for free.
Name / Contact Information
Like most styles, the chronological resume starts off with a banner that includes the writer's name and contact information. This includes street address, telephone number, and email address.
The next section is a table of the job seeker's educational background. Many job listings provide both the "required" and "desired" level of education. If this information is deemed important by the individuals screening each applicant, then it's better to place it upfront in the document. The applicant is either qualified or not qualified for a job.
Honors / Certifications / Licenses Held
The third section in this format contains a bulleted list of the certifications, educational honors, or professional licenses held. For example, a certified public accountant would include that accreditation in this section of the resume.
This fourth, and final, section of the chronological resume is what really defines this particular format. In the work experience section, the writer would include a reverse chronological listing of their work experience.
The list below details some of the strengths of a chronological resume:
- If past work experiences are aligned with the job posting, this format highlights prior job descriptions and work titles.
- The progression of a career is easy to follow, since prior work experience is listed in a timeline sequence known as reverse chronological order.
- This format not only highlights job position and past titles, but also the organizations worked for in the past.
- Because the chronological resume has a built-in timeline, it is believed to be more fact-based and possesses credibility in the eyes of the hiring manager or recruiter.
The list below details some of the weaknesses of a chronological resume:
- If there is a gap or break in the work experience timeline, this format makes that gap stand out.
- The chronological resume allows potential employers to figure out if the job applicant has been switching jobs frequently. This is an undesirable attribute in a job candidate.
- The format makes it nearly impossible to hide the applicant's age from potential employers. This can be a big disadvantage for both younger and older job seekers.
- If a career does not follow a typical progression, this format highlights that problem.
Career History Section
The chronological resume format arranges the applicant's career history into a timeline sequence that runs through what they've accomplished in the past. Shown below is an example demonstrating how that format appears on a resume:
ABC Manufacturing Corporation, Some City, Kansas 2016 - 2020 Plant Manager Responsible for managing the operation of a 150,000 square foot plastics manufacturing facility operating on a 24 x 7 work schedule. Maintained the quality of product, while setting annual records for production quantities at the facility.
CBA Laboratories, City Harbor, Maine 2014 - 2016 Laboratory Supervisor Managed plastics research laboratory responsible for replicating small scale extrusion operations. Developed several low temperature techniques that later became the primary patent under which second generation plants were constructed.
Chronological Resume Sample
While the above information helps to explain the outline of this resume, it's easier to illustrate how this information is applied with an example: Chronological Resume Sample. This document can be used as a starting point, or template, when composing the actual resume.
Functional and Combination Resumes
If the chronological resume does not seem well-suited to a particular situation, there are two other formats to choose from. In fact, it's a good idea to become familiar with both the functional and combination resume formats before preparing or finalizing a resume.
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