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

What is job-hopping?

While this timeline may only show 4 experiences, the “STOP” at the end doesn’t mean that you can ONLY have 4. The goal is to put all of the jobs you’ve held in the last 10 years. This is where a conversation about job hopping needs to come into play. How do employers define job-hopping? It’s anytime you’ve held a position for less than 2 years. So, 4 experience listings in 10 years is a great number because it shows that you don’t bounce around.

What is so wrong with changing jobs?

It may not feel like a bad thing because you’re gaining a lot of experience in different environments. You’re being exposed to new processes and adapting to different procedures and rules. In fact, employers expect that a job seeker will move from job to job about every 5 years.

However, it is becoming more and more common for resumes to show 8 or 9 jobs in 10 years. That basically means the job seeker spends about a year in a position.

Hiring managers have a big problem with people who don’t stick around for at least 2 years. A lot of it has to do with the expense related to onboarding new staff members. The company has spent time and money to find and interview you. Then they spend even more time, resources, and energy training you.

Gut Punch (podcast) - Viki Patel | Listen Notes

For the hiring manager who has put time into coaching and mentoring you, having you leave in less than 2 years is like a punch in the gut.

Why do hiring managers like the reverse-chronological format so much?

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 may not be 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.