The Best Reverse Chronological Resume for 2021

Reverse Chronological Resume

This post is the first in the series, Three Styles of Resumes. You can find Part 2 and Part 3 here.

The Three Styles of Resumes (Part 1 of 3)

When it comes to preparing your resume, there are three different styles you can choose from: the reverse chronological, the functional, and the combination.

In this blog series, we will look at all three, starting with the Reverse Chronological Resume.

The Reverse Chronological Resume

The most common and traditional structure for a resume, the Reverse Chronological Resume, lists your relevant professional roles starting with your most recent position and working backward from there, specifically focusing on your professional experience. Skills and accomplishments are used to quantify your skills and achievements through the Professional Experience section of the resume. The design highlights a steady work history as well as a pattern of upward or lateral mobility. It is crucial to include a list of core competencies under the Executive Summary to ensure that the resume will make it through Applicant Tracking Software.

What to Include

  • The name of your employer(s).
  • The duration of your employment (i.e. September 2018 – January 2020).
  • Your position title(s).
  • A one-sentence description of your role.
  • Educational institutions you’ve attended (college, vocational-technical schools, and career-oriented programs and courses),.
  • Skills and abilities as specified by your current career goal.
  • Your measurable achievements.
  • A Summary of Qualifications or Executive Summary.

This format is for you if:

  • You are looking to stay in the same profession/type of work, are in a very conservative field, or you’re in law and academia.
  • You have a steady school and work record.
  • Your current or most recent employer is well-known and carries some clout in the industry.
  • Your most recent job titles are impressive stepping stones.
  • You can safely explain any potential negative factors on your resume (inconsequential jobs, too few jobs, too many temporary jobs, too many years at the same position).

This format is NOT for you if you have a minimum employment history, even with outstanding educational credentials, or employability problems (gaps, demotions, single position stagnation, and job-hopping).

A Reverse Chronological Resume carries with it some advantages, including:

  • It may appeal to older, more traditional readers as this is the form many employers know best.
  • It’s easy to quickly skim over because it lays out what you did in each job.
  • It highlights the increasing responsibility and professional growth of your work history.
  • It won’t be viewed with skepticism in fields that are based on formality, credibility, and tradition, like law and banking.

As with all resume formats, there are also some disadvantages:

  • Due to the inclusion of dates, the Reverse Chronological Resume will call attention to gaps in your employment or to positions you only held for a short time.
  • Similarly, it will showcase long periods that you’ve gone without significant advancement.
  • If you are applying for a position that does not fit with your recent work history, this format can make it challenging to make a case for your candidacy.
  • It makes your age readily apparent, which can work against both younger and older job seekers.

At Langley Writing Services, we can help you pick the resume format best suited to the role you are applying for. We’ll work together to uncover your unique abilities and quantify your skillset. Once completed, your value is communicated in a clear format with all your skills and accomplishments displayed in a way that will make an employer stop and take notice.

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