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Chronological Resume: Format, Templates & Examples

If there’s one resume format you absolutely need to master, it’s the chronological resume. Learn how to use this versatile format to your advantage.

Olga Ber
Olga Ber
Career Expert
Chronological Resume: Format, Templates & Examples

A chronological resume format is one of the best options out there to showcase your work experience and qualification.

It highlights not only your job history, but also any awards, recognition or accomplishments that you have earned.

Plus, its simple structure makes it easier to navigate and scan.

Read on to learn more about why a chronological format is a great option for your resume. 

This guide will show you:

  • The reasons why the chronological resume format is so special.
  • Expert-approved reverse-chronological resume templates that you can try right now.
  • A full step-by-step guide to writing a chronological resume and adapting its structure to your needs.

Save hours of work and get a job-winning resume like this. Try our resume builder with 20+ resume templates and create your resume now.

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CREATE YOUR RESUME NOWreverse chronological resume sample

What users say about ResumeLab:

I had an interview yesterday and the first thing they said on the phone was: “Wow! I love your resume.”

I love the variety of templates. Good job guys, keep up the good work!

My previous resume was really weak and I used to spend hours adjusting it in Word. Now, I can introduce any changes within minutes. Absolutely wonderful!

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Eager to learn more about resume writing before diving into your chronological resume? Check out these resources:

1. What is a Chronological Resume (And is it Different from a Reverse Chronological Resume)?

A chronological resume is a resume that focuses on your work history or your education, presented in the order from your most recent achievements to your humble beginnings. It’s the most common of the three resume formats, the other two being the functional resume and the combination resume.

Sometimes, the term reverse-chronological resume is used. It sounds like the opposite of a chronological resume, but in fact the two terms mean exactly the same. 

Why do people use it? 

Well, they want to emphasize that a resume goes “back in time” from your most recent position to your earliest relevant jobs, hence the word reverse.

2. Why Should You Use The Chronological Resume Format?

No matter if you’re writing your first resume with no experience or applying for a senior position at an international company, a reverse-chronological resume is always a good choice. Here’s why:

  • You can adapt the structure of a chronological resume to emphasize either experience or education, depending on your experience level.
  • Software systems that scan resumes (known as Applicant Tracking Systems) are trained to read chronological resumes, whereas other resume formats can confuse them.
  • Human recruiters also find chronological resumes the easiest to read because they give a quick overview of your professional growth.
  • Non-chronological resume formats can give the impression that you’re trying to hide awkward employment gaps or other embarrassing secrets.

Of course, there are a few exceptions.

For example, your work history might be hard to present in a nice, structured way (this sometimes happens to freelancers and creatives). Or you may be starting a whole new career, so you feel that your skills are much more relevant than your previous experience. In this case, you may opt for a functional resume, which focuses on skills rather than work history.

Or you may be applying for a senior position where extensive experience and a unique skillset are equally important, so a combination resume might work better for you.

However, the reverse-chronological resume is still the best choice for the majority of candidates and the majority of jobs.

3. How to Structure a Reverse-Chronological Resume

There are two basic ways to structure a chronological resume, depending on how experienced you are:

Chronological Resume Structure for Experienced Candidates

  • Header with contact information
  • Resume profile
  • Work experience (going up to 10–15 years back from the latest job)
  • Education (usually the latest degree only)
  • Skills
  • Additional sections if relevant (Languages, Certifications, Awards, etc.

Chronological Resume Structure for Entry-Level Candidates

  • Header with contact information
  • Resume profile
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Skills
  • Additional sections

If you have relevant experience, make it the most prominent part of your resume and put your education below it.

But if you’re just starting out, put your education above your (modest) work experience. You’ll flip them in a few years’ time when writing your next resume.

The Best Chronological Resume Templates You Can Try Right Now

The quickest, easiest way to write a resume is to use a resume builder with a rich gallery of built-in resume templates. You just fill in the blanks using our built-in tips and autofill features, fine-tune the colors and fonts, and hit the Download button.

Here are some of the reverse-chronological resume templates that have helped our users land their dream jobs:

1. Cascade

CREATE MY RESUME NOWReverse Chronological Resume Template

This chronological resume template is a favorite among our users. Its bold contrasting sidebar offers ample space for your skills, languages, and personal info. Your work experience and education section get all the attention they deserve thanks to the clean, structured layout.

2. Cubic

CREATE MY RESUME NOWReverse Chronological Resume Template

Cubic is one of our most versatile templates for a chronological resume. No matter how much (or how little) information you’d like to put on the page, it never looks empty or overcrowded.

Expert Hint: With all our templates, you can adjust the font sizes as well as the line and entry spacing to make sure your resume fills the page optimally.

3. Primo

CREATE MY RESUME NOWReverse Chronological Resume Template

Primo gives you an opportunity to establish your personal brand without hiring a designer to create your logo—a sleek, modern graphical interpretation of your initials is an integral part of this chronological resume template!

4. Enfold

CREATE MY RESUME NOWReverse Chronological Resume Template

This template is a mirror image of Cascade—this time, the distinctive sidebar is on the right. As always, feel free to use the editor’s drag and drop functionality to reorder the resume sections according to your needs.

5. Squares

CREATE MY RESUME NOWReverse Chronological Resume Template

This reverse chronological resume template offers a clean single-column resume layout and a sophisticated logo in the corner. The smart use of whitespace makes this template remarkably easy on the eyes.

6. Concept

CREATE MY RESUME NOWReverse Chronological Resume Template

This bold resume template is another great choice for reverse-chronological types of resumes. The timeline emphasizes your growth and progress, and the modern round icons help guide the reader’s eye towards the most important information.

4. How to Write a Chronological Resume Step by Step

Writing a resume can be a daunting task, but we know how to make it easy and painless. You can check out our full data-driven guide on how to write a resume or go through the steps outlined in this article.

1. Start With a Flawless Resume Header

The resume header is the part on top of your resume that contains your contact information, that is:

  • Your full name
  • Job title
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • LinkedIn
  • (Optionally) Website and additional social media handles

While writing a resume header sounds simple, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you provide a professional-looking email address, like Even if you think that email username you made up in high school is insanely witty, the recruiter will probably just reject you without bothering to read the rest of your resume.
  • Always include your LinkedIn profile. As many as 4 out of 10 recruiters won’t call you in for an interview if they can’t find your professional profile online.
  • If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, go create one right after you finish reading this article. It won’t cost you anything.
  • Only include links to your website and social media if they’re somehow relevant to the job you’re applying for. So if you’re a food blogger in your spare time, don’t link to your blog if you’re applying for a job as a neurosurgeon. No one cares.

2. Create a Catchy Resume Profile

Your resume profile is that little paragraph on top of your resume. There are two kinds of resume profiles:

  • A resume summary is what you write if you’ve got a few years of experience under your belt.
  • A resume objective is what you write if you’re just starting a new career.

In a resume summary, you point out a few of your key achievements and promise to achieve similar (or even greater) successes for your new employer.

A resume objective, on the other hand, focuses on your skills and how you’re going to use them to help your new employer achieve their business goals.

Whichever one you pick, here’s a universal formula to follow:

  • Start with an adjective that describes your professional self.
  • Follow with years of experience.
  • List 2–3 relevant skills or accomplishments.
  • Name-drop the company you’re applying to and explain what you have to offer.

Here’s what a resume summary can look like, as seen on a senior marketing specialist resume:

Self-motivated and analytically-minded senior marketing manager with 6+ years of experience. In previous roles increased website traffic by 300% and developed SEO strategy that brought in ~10K monthly users. Eager to join Minas Morgul Inc. to help manage the strategy development and lead cross-functional teams.

3. Present Your Work Experience Like a Pro

The work experience section is the most important part of a reverse chronological resume (unless you’re a total newbie). Here’s how to write it:

  • Start with your current or most recent position, then follow it with the one before it, then the previous one, and so on.
  • Limit yourself to up to 15 years of professional experience. Leave off all positions older than that.
  • In every entry, include your job title, company name, dates worked, and up to 6 bullet points detailing your duties and achievements.
  • Focus only on what’s relevant to the position you’re targeting—it’s called “tailoring” a resume to match the requirements of the job on offer.
  • Don’t dwell on what you did. Highlight how well you did it. If you have quantifiable accomplishments, show them off.
  • As you go back in time, use fewer and fewer bullet points. Your most recent professional activity is what really matters to recruiters.

When writing your work experience section, you might be worried about any job gaps on your resume.

In fact, some people get so nervous about their employment gaps that they try to conceal them by “forgetting” to put full employment dates, straight-out lying, or even opting for a non-chronological resume format altogether.

Don’t be like those people.

A recent study revealed that even long periods of unemployment don’t matter to recruiters, as long as you hold a relevant job afterwards. Even if you’re unemployed right now, there’s no need to worry: current employment gaps shorter than 9 months have no effect on the success of your application.

The ResumeLab builder is more than looks. Get specific content to boost your chances of getting the job. Add job descriptions, bullet points, and skills. Easy. Improve your resume in our resume builder now.


CREATE YOUR RESUME NOWcreate your resume now

Nail it all with a splash of color, choose a clean font, and highlight your skills in just a few clicks. You're the perfect candidate, and we'll prove it. Use our resume builder now.

4. Craft an Education Section That’s Just as Long as Necessary

For most candidates, listing education on their chronological resumes is a sheer formality.

If you have over 2 years of relevant experience in your field, make your education section brief and to-the-point.

Include only:

  • Degree
  • Major (and minors, if you have them)
  • University name
  • Graduation date

Like in this example:

BSc in Mathematics; Minor in Italian

The City University of New York, Brooklyn, NY


Recently graduated and don’t have a solid work history to show off yet?

Do two things—

First of all, make your education section the main selling point of your chronological resume. Put it above the work experience.

Secondly, add more details about your educational background: list relevant coursework, honors and awards, extracurricular activities, and other achievements.

You can learn more by reading our guide to perfecting your education section.

5. Show You’ve Got The Right Skills

Writing the skills section feels like tiresome guesswork to many candidates. But what if we told you that it’s actually very easy to identify the skills the recruiter wants to see on your resume?

Here’s how:

They’re all in the job ad.

Read the job ad carefully and highlight all skills-related keywords you can find. There’ll be quite a few.

Pick somewhere between 8–10 of them, put them into a bulleted list, and you’ve got the skills section of your resume. Just make sure that these skills actually apply to you!

To make your expertise more believable, sprinkle the skills from your list all over your resume profile and work experience sections. This will make your resume more cohesive. Also, resume-evaluating software will love seeing keywords from the job ad in your resume.

Need more tips? Check out our complete guide to skills to put on a resume for an in-depth look at crafting a job-winning skills list.

6. Add Relevant Extras

By now, you’ve completed all the mandatory sections of a reverse-chronological resume. But, where do you put additional certifications? Awards? Relevant volunteering experience? Unique hobbies?

Well, that’s what additional resume sections are for. Here are some common ones:

A word of warning, though: your resume shouldn’t include every remotely interesting fact about you. Only include relevant information and boost your value in the recruiter’s eyes.

5. A Basic Chronological Resume Template (Just Fill in The Blanks)

Are you a DIY kind of person? Prefer to create your resume from scratch using Word or Google Docs? Here’s a basic template you can copy and paste:

[Your Name]


[Phone Number]

[Email Address]



[Resume Objective or Resume Summary]


[Job Title]

[Company Name]


  • [Achievement]
  • [Achievement]
  • [Achievement]
  • [Achievement]

[Job Title]

[Company Name]


  • [Achievement]
  • [Achievement]
  • [Achievement]



[School Name & Address]

[Graduation Date]


  • [Association]
  • [Association]
  • [Association]


  • [Certification]
  • [Certification]
  • [Certification]


  • [Skill]
  • [Skill]
  • [Skill]
  • [Skill]
  • [Skill]
  • [Skill]


  • [Language]
  • [Language]


  • [Hobby]
  • [Hobby]

Double your impact with a matching resume and cover letter combo. Use our cover letter generator and make your application documents pop out.


CREATE YOUR COVER LETTER NOWcreate your cover letter now

Want to try a different look? There's 21 more. A single click will give your document a total makeover. Pick a cover letter template here.

Key Takeaways

The reverse-chronological resume focuses on your work history and education. It presents your professional growth by starting with your most recent achievements and ending with your earlier successes. Because it’s so versatile, the reverse-chronological resume is the most popular resume format.

Here’s how to write it step by step:

  • Create a header with your contact information.
  • Craft a catchy resume profile.
  • List your jobs (from latest to oldest), focusing on achievements rather than responsibilities.
  • Present your educational background (but don’t go into too much detail).
  • Demonstrate that you’ve got the exact skills the employer is looking for.
  • Spice up your resume with extra sections.
  • Play around with different templates in our builder and tweak your chosen template until your resume looks perfect (or format your resume using your favorite software).
  • Create a matching cover letter.

Questions? Concerns? Need further help? We’re here to listen and respond. Drop us a line in the comments, and I’ll get back to you double-quick!

About ResumeLab’s Editorial Process

At ResumeLab, quality is at the crux of our values, supporting our commitment to delivering top-notch career resources. The editorial team of career experts carefully reviews every article in accordance with editorial guidelines, ensuring the high quality and reliability of our content. We actively conduct original research, shedding light on the job market's intricacies and earning recognition from numerous influential news outlets. Our dedication to delivering expert career advice attracts millions of readers to our blog each year.

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Olga Ber
Olga Ber
Olga is a career expert with a background in teaching. At ResumeLab, she writes actionable guides to help job-seekers highlight their unique strengths and unlock their career potential.

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