Should I put my Experience in Chronological Order?

Posted in Career Blog

Writing a resume is hard work. You want to make sure that you incorporate all of the elements required as regards your career background-in a formal presentation that is professional and effective. This said, there is a lot of confusion that comes into play when people try to understand the format that they should put their resume information into. One of the most popular resume formats is the chronological format-for example-and though it has been the standard for years upon years in the career industry, is this the format that you should use?
First, what is the chronological resume format? This is the standard industry format that most people use. It lists all of the basics, such as education, skills, achievements, and the optional objective; but when it comes to the career history section, it lists all your present and past employment from most recent back for the past ten years. Each listing under career history offers details on each term of employment that you have had, such as job title, employer company, dates of employment, and responsibilities.
Many people choose this format as employers prefer to see a coherent range of employment during the past ten years to gauge you by. They want to see, predominantly, what kinds of employment you have had and what industry they have been in, as well as whether or not there were any unexplained employment gaps in that period of time. If you have a history that has had short periods of employment, this shows fickleness or perhaps a dislike for responsibility-and employers do not like this. If, they see that there are a lot of jobs in different industries with no coherence between them-they do not like this, because it makes you look like you lack focus or direction in your career. Lastly, if they see that there were times of unemployment during the past ten years, they do not like this as they wonder if your were fired or perhaps quit-and might be a lazy candidate. So, this is what a chronological career history offers an employer. If you have a solid employment history, this may very well be the right format for you.
Conversely, if you are someone who-for one reason or another-had any of the above mentioned areas of inconsistency in their resume; you would probably be better served with a resume that focuses less on a timeline of employment and more on the skills and qualifications that you gleaned from your work history. This is the functional resume. In this sort of format, you don’t need to list career history in a chronological fashion. Instead, you categorize your skills and achievements with sub categories such as communications skills, team building skills, and so forth-and list beneath each one instances where you proved excellence in that type of skill.

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