A resume has come to be expected of every applicant for almost any professional position. And while there are many types of resumes meant for a variety of uses, they all tend to fall into two broad categories, namely functional and chronological resumes. Our focus will be on the chronological resume and its applications.
A chronological resume is a type of resume which lists one’s professional and academic achievements in a historical (chronological) order, usually starting with the latest and ending with the ‘oldest’. Therefore the typical chronological resume will tend to have a section for career objectives and then sections for experience and qualifications, both starting with the most recently achieved and ending with the first, with the rest listed in between in their chronological order.
A chronological resume tends to give equal focus on both what the achievements are, as well as on where and when they were earned. This approach works best for people with strong and consistent career histories and people who attended good schools, colleges and universities. Through a chronological resume, they are able to focus the prospective employers on their good histories – which can prove to be the big assets that set them apart – especially in a crowded field where all candidates are essentially on an equal footing in terms of other qualifications.
A chronological resume can also be useful where you happen to have worked with some big players in the industry in the past, and where you feel that the modest mention of those might give you an edge – which you can’t do well with a functional resume which tends to focus on what you did rather than on where and when.
A chronological resume shows that one is confident and proud of the consistent career path they have taken. And if one has it, such a consistent career path is highly attractive to many employers who tend to be wary of what they consider restless employees. And because of this fact, many employers are now showing an open bias to candidates who present chronological resumes. Some are even actually demanding for chronological resumes from all candidates for all professional positions. An added attraction of chronological resumes to many employers is their more logical presentation, based as they are on timelines, which tends to make them easier to skim through and glean the information one is searching for. Busy human resource executives consider this better than functional resumes, which typically require some quite concentrated reading if one is to make any real decisions based on them.
Of course, a chronological resume won’t work well for some groups of people. People with shaky career histories, for example, will find themselves hard pressed if required to develop a chronological resume, where the gaps in their career histories could look awkward. Another group of people who might find difficulties with a chronological resume are those that have consistent (in terms of timelines) but illogical career histories, like, say someone who has worked consistently for ten years – but at three totally unrelated jobs. These groups of people tend to be uncomfortable with chronological resumes, and if you are one of these, it is advisable to opt for a good functional resume, unless a chronological resume is explicitly mentioned as a mandatory requirement.