How to write a chronological CV

How to write a chronological CV

A chronological CV format is one where your work history and qualifications etc are displayed in reverse chronological order.  This means that your most recent employment appears first on the CV and works its way backwards to your first job.

It is a straightforward CV format to write as it is organised in a very logical way.   A chronological CV organises its content according to a historical timeline.  Employers like them because they can see very easily what your work history and career progression has been.  They can also see any career breaks, the length of each employment and any changes in career path.

If you are looking for a role which is a natural progression given your career to date, then the chronological CV format will be very CVappropriate and highlight your suitability for the role.  An example might be a marketing manager who is looking for a similar role in the same industry or who is looking for the next step. Under the most recent employment it should be possible to demonstrate relevant skills and experience that the employer will be interested in.

It is also helpful in highlighting the names of your previous employers which can be advantageous if they are prestigious brands or competitors of your target employer and therefore likely in themselves to attract interest.

However, if your last employment(s) have not been directly relevant to the role you are applying for, then a chronological CV will do you no favours.  It will instead raise questions about why you are applying.

Equally if you have had several jobs, gaps between jobs or career breaks, then this CV format could make what is a very legitimate work history look irregular and troublesome.  In this case, you would be advised to look at one of the other CV formats like a functional CV which is covered later on.

Use a chronological CV when:

  • Your last few roles/employers are directly relevant to job being sought.
  • You have been promoted and/or been given additional responsibilities throughout your career.
  • You can demonstrate steady employment and few employment gaps.
  • You can use well-known companies or prestigious brands to show your calibre.

Don’t use when:

  • Seeking to downplay any career breaks or gaps between employment.
  • Employment includes several short-term jobs which could look like job-hopping.
  • You want to change career direction from previous career history.
  • Your responsibilities have decreased in the course of your career e.g. demotions.

Let’s look at how you would write a chronological CV.


How do I find out more?

Corinne’s new edition of her CV book has recently been updated to include an extended chapter on social media and how to use it to your advantage to market yourself, manage your web-presence and your online reputation. You can purchase Corinne’s book via Amazon.

If you would like to find out more about our career coaching services, including CV advice, we offer a free, no-obligation career consultation where you will have an opportunity to discuss your career situation and find out more about how we can help.

To book or to find out more, call us on 01753 888995 or fill in our contact form and one of our team will be happy to contact you to discuss your requirements.

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About The Author

Corinne Mills

Corinne Mills is the Joint Managing Director of Personal Career Management, she is a career coach, trained in workplace counselling and NLP with 15 years career management experience. Corinne is a Fellow of the CIPD and ex Chair for the CIPD Chiltern Branch. Her background is as a Senior HR Manager with a MA in Human Resources (MCIPD), Corinne is the author of the UK's no 1 best-selling CV book "You're Hired! How to write a brilliant CV" and 'Career Coach'.

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