The Most Popular Resume is the Reverse Chronological

The Most Popular Resume is the Reverse Chronological

You are probably aware that there are 3 basic resume formats: the chronological (well, reverse chronological), the hybrid/combination, and the functional. Hiring managers tend to favor the chronological resume format simply because it is simple to read. It doesn’t matter if you have 7 years of experience or 25, the most popular resume is the reverse chronological.

What is a reverse chronological resume?

It is exactly what it sounds like…a listing of your career experiences in reverse chronological order. Ultimately, hiring managers want to see what you’re currently doing first. Therefore, you should almost always start with your current or most recent job. Then, go backward in time until you get to your oldest job.

job history timeline
Job History Timeline

Of course, this timeline is just a representation. Always Typing isn’t trying to limit your history to 4 positions. The main idea is to go back until you are at the 10-15 year mark.

Why do hiring managers like this format so much?

I always tell clients that your resume isn’t meant to be a record of your professional life’s events. It’s meant to provide a high-level, accomplishments driven overview of your career achievements. The chronological resume provides this at a glance, which is a very good thing since hiring managers only spend about 6 seconds glancing at your resume before deciding to read it. This format allows hiring managers to assess your experience and skill level at a glance. Here’s what a reverse chronological resume looks like:

Chronological Resume

Chronological resumes are NOT one-size-fits-all

If you’re changing careers, are new to the job market, or have a lot of career gaps chronological is probably not the right choice for you. For example, if you’re changing careers, you’d want to break your experience into “Targeted Career Experience” and “Transferrable Career Experience” sections. This may mean that your career history will be out of date order. That’s okay, though. First and foremost,  you want to market yourself to the job at hand. That means you may have to use a different resume format.


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