Writing a Reverse-chronological Resume This Year

A reverse-chronological resume is often the best way to display your career achievements and skills. What do you need to know about this resume format?

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By Donna Wright 3 minute read

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What is a reverse-chronological resume?

A reverse-chronological resume is a resume format that prioritizes professional experience and previous jobs. As the name suggests, this resume layout involves detailing previous work experience in reverse-chronological order, with the most recent job being located at the top of the work history section. This resume format is most beneficial for job seekers who have a lot of professional experience and want to showcase this to potential employers. By contrast, the reverse-chronological resume is less beneficial for those who lack work experience or have many gaps in their work history.

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The structure of a reverse-chronological resume

The major sections of a reverse-chronological resume are the same as other resume formats, but the importance of each section is different. For example, in a reverse-chronological format, the work experience section will be more extensive than the education and skills sections.

1. Header

Your resume header should include your full name and your contact information. You can also include your professional social media profiles for platforms such as LinkedIn.

2. Resume summary

Your resume summary should be a very short introduction to who you are as a person and what you can bring to the table. If you lack professional experience, you can instead write a resume objective statement.

3. Skills

This is where you should list all relevant technical skills, soft skills and certifications. The resume skills section of your chronological resume should be fairly compact in size, so be sure to prioritize your most relevant skills and qualifications.

4. Work experience

The largest part of a reverse-chronological resume is the professional experience section. This section should cover the last 10 to 15 years of your work experience. List previous job titles in full and detail your biggest achievements within those roles.

5. Education

If you have been out of education for over five years, your education section will have limited importance (especially if you have a wealth of professional experience). List your most recent or most advanced educational achievements unless older qualifications are more relevant to the role you are applying for.

If you need some inspiration to help you create the best possible reverse-chronological resume, the ResumeHelp resume builder can be a helpful tool. There are other resume formats you can consider for your professional resume, so take the time to look at your options before you commit to a reverse-chronological resume format.

Reverse-chronological vs. functional vs. combination resumes

There are other resume formats that can be useful to those who have gaps in their work experience or who lack professional experience as recent graduates or job seekers who are undertaking a job search as a part of a career change. The main features of each type of resume are:

Reverse-chronological resume

As already stated, a reverse-chronological resume prioritizes work history. If you’re applying for a job that values experience, use this format to present your work history and impress the hiring manager.

Functional resume

A functional resume format is best for those with limited work experience or large employment gaps because it prioritizes relevant skills and achievements while downplaying work history. Make use of bullet points and break out your skills into categories to make your skills section stand out.

Hybrid/combination resume

A hybrid or combination resume format features substantial skills work experience sections and is a good middle ground between the two other formats. Focus on the biggest achievements at present and previous jobs, as well as skills that are relevant to the job you want.

If you wish to impress recruiters and secure a new job, you should choose the right resume format to complement your skills and work history. Consider whether you have employment gaps, your most relevant skills and certifications, and different resume templates before you continue and look at effective resume examples from your field of work to get inspiration.

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FAQ: Reverse-chronological Resumes

Have questions? We’re here to help.

The reverse-chronological resume is one of the most versatile and adaptable resume layouts, but it will benefit those who have a lot of work experience. Every resume format has its particular benefits, but the chronological resume format has something to offer most career paths.

Yes, depending on your particular skill set and level of work experience you could add a section for your certifications or internships. Your resume is all about representing the things that make you the best candidate for a job, which means it is adaptable.

Generally speaking, you should only include 10 to 15 years of work experience in your reverse-chronological resume unless the company specifically asks for more.

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Donna Wright Profile
WRITTEN BY Donna Wright

Donna is a career expert with extensive experience in the fields of Marketing, Publishing, Direct Mail and Communications. She’s witnessed firsthand the importance of a powerful resume and cover letter to a job search, so she takes great pride in helping change the lives of job seekers by sharing expert career advice and tips to help land the perfect job.

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