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Impress potential employers with a striking resume in reverse chronological format, using these expert tips.
The reverse-chronological resume, also known as the chronological resume, is the most common resume format and is preferred by most hiring managers. This professional resume format lists your work history from the most recent to the least recent. A reverse chronological resume draws the reader’s attention to your top work achievements, improving your chance of landing a job interview. In this article, you will learn why this resume format is so popular and how it can improve your chances of landing your next job!
The reverse-chronological resume format highlights your professional experience, so it gives you the best opportunity to showcase your expertise and accomplishments. Three key factors help strengthen this type of resume:
1. Recency: Placing your most recent positions at the top of your resume helps employers see your most up-to-date skills and experience first.
2. Relevancy: this resume should emphasize your most relevant work experiences that relate to the job you’re applying for.
3. Longevity: If you’ve held previous positions for an extended period, a reverse-chronological resume, will show recruiters your ability to commit to long-term positions, which reduces the company’s recruiting costs.
Candidates with several years of experience can use this resume format to present a stable record of their professional background. But, if you’ve worked at many companies in a short period, you haven’t worked in recent years, or you have no work experience, then the reverse-chronological resume format may not be your best option. In these situations, a functional or combination format may work better for you.
Depending on your situation, you may opt for alternative resume formats. Here are two other options you can choose from based on your level of work experience:
Applicants with little to no experience can use the functional resume format. This resume format highlights the job seeker’s skills, related activities, and education. Employers can focus on the candidate’s capabilities rather than their lack of work history.
2. Combination or hybrid resume
The combination resume format is a good choice for those with a few years of employment history. The resume highlights both the candidate’s skills and experience and combines both the reverse-chronological and functional format in its layout.
When To Use the Reverse-chronological Resume Format
ResumeNerd has many resume examples you can view to get ideas to create your own. Regardless of the type of job you are applying for, from an accountant to a zoologist, we have resume examples that use the reverse-chronological resume format. You can also use the resume builder to create your resume quickly and easily, with our expert step-by-step, job-specific advice.
The work experience section is a key part of the reverse-chronological resume format, but other sections also help your resume stand out. Keep in mind that many employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS). This is a human resources software that scans resumes for keywords to find well-matched applicants. So, it’s vital to add keywords from the job description throughout your resume to increase your chances of making it to the hiring manager’s desk.
Here are the five main resume sections and why they’re essential in your job search.
The header of the resume includes your name and contact information, with your phone number and email address. You may also add your professional portfolio links, including LinkedIn.
The next section is the resume summary or resume objective. This is a short paragraph with only 2 or 3 sentences. A resume summary provides the hiring manager with your most important achievements showing why you’re the best person for the position. If you don’t have much work experience, you can use the resume objective instead and simply state your career goals.
The skills section should include both hard and soft skills. Match your skills to the skills listed in the job posting. Hard skills are those skills you need to do the job or require technical knowledge, such as programming skills. Also include soft skills such as communication skills and teamwork skills. List 8 to 12 skills in bullet point form that are directly related to the job description to increase your chances of a hiring manager selecting you for an interview.
Only include up to 10 years of previous work experience that is directly relevant to the position you are applying for. For each position, use bullet points to highlight 2-4 key accomplishments you achieved in each position. Use action verbs, such as “Led,” “Directed,” or “Coordinated,” rather than “Was tasked with.” Be sure to list the company name, your job title, and the dates you held that position.
The education section should include the school, college, or university you studied at. List your highest degree of education, along with any associated academic awards and honors. If you haven’t graduated yet, add your expected date of graduation. Also indicate the location of your school, along with your area of study. However, you should not add your GPA, unless you graduated within the last year and had a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
Your recent job history is often the most relevant job history. Employers want to see you have up-to-date knowledge and skills needed to fill the position. This is what makes it the best resume type out there for applicants who have an extensive work history.
The reverse-chronological resume focuses on work history. In contrast, a functional resume is best for recent grads or those who have little work experience, as it focuses on skills and education instead of work experience.
Ideally, a reverse chronological resume should be one page long. Sometimes a candidate with an extensive work history may have a two-page resume, but if you find your resume is only slightly over one page, look for opportunities where you can trim out less relevant skills and experience to hit the sweet spot of one page.
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