In a chronological resume you present your experiences and qualifications along the way they occurred. The content is presented in reverse chronological order, which means that you should start with your most recent work under the work experience heading and your most recent education at the top under the education heading. This structure is by far the most common and always works well in the majority of the industries, especially if you want to show that you have continuously been given increased responsibilities. The disadvantage is that it can reveal gaps and that there is a risk of repetition. Focus on composing the content of your resume in a good way. With a visually neat and stylish resume you can more easily capture the reader’s attention, but a nice outside with an empty and bland inside never deceives a recruiter. Below is an example of a structure for a chronological resume.
At the top, you should have a heading that tells you that the document is a resume and your name. For example, it can say ‘Resume First Name Last Name’ or Curriculum Vitae – First Name Last Name’.
Make sure to have your contact details clearly at the top of your resume. You want to facilitate as much as possible for the recruiter if they find you interesting. It is advisable to place the most important contact details in the document header so that they are also included and available on all pages. The information that may be good to include are:
• Phone number
• E-mail address
• Home address
If you are active on LinkedIn you can link your profile as well.
The issue of having a picture or not is debated. Having a picture of yourself often makes it easier for the recruiter to remember you. Many recruiters also like to get a face on the candidate they are reading about.
If you choose to include an image, it is important that you choose one that is appropriate and in the same tonality as the service you are looking for. If you are looking for an office job, a stricter upholstery and an image with neutral background is most suitable. However, do not be afraid to smile and look nice. A professional image does not mean you have to look serious. See the photo as a chance to show more of your personality.
Something to avoid is a photo with several people in, a bikini picture from a holiday, a selfie or a picture from a night out with your friends. If you do not have a more serious image, it will not take long to put on a shirt or bouse and have someone take your picture against a single-color wall.
Then start with a brief description of yourself and your personal professional profile. Here you can present your personality and your main skills in a few sentences to give the reader a quick insight into you and your skills.
Then you will present work experience and education in reverse chronological order. Therefore, start with the heading that is most relevant. If you are studying or if that is what you did last, the heading education should come first. Present your education with information about the name of the school, city, time period and what the education included regarding subject areas and courses. Focus on what is relevant to the role you are applying for. Depending on how far you have come in your career, you can also include your high school education.
Here you present the employment you have had. Get information about your role, company, city and time period. If you have a current job, indicate when you started and state that it is ongoing. Then also describe the role, what duties and responsibilities you had. Be concise but content and highlight the experiences relevant to the role you are looking for.
How many of your jobs you should have depends on how far in your career you have come. If you are young, it may be good to include all previous jobs to show that you have actually had a job, which shows responsibility and ambition. If on the other hand, you have progressed further in your career and have accumulated work experience that is relevant to the job you applied for, you can remove that summer job when you worked in the local café.
On the other hand, it is good to try to avoid gaps in your resume, so have enough employment so that there will be no major breaks. If you have a gap, it is better to write what you did during that period rather than leaving it open to the reader’s imagination. If the recruiter does not know, it is easily happened that you think the worst. Instead, write if you where seeking jobs, went on a long trip or were on sick leave. It happens to all of us. A tip for blurring resume gaps is to specify the time period in just years and not specify months.
Language and computer knowledge
Here you list the language you speak and the computer programs you master and have experience with and rate them based on the systems. It can, for example, be on a scale of 1-5, moderate, basic to very good or similar. Focus on the programs that may be relevant to the role you are applying for. Also do not exaggerate – for your own sake – your skills in a program as it may disadvantage you in the future when an employer sees it. It is always better to exceed the expectation than to disappoint someone.
Here you can highlight other qualifications and experiences that are not directly related to work or education. There are various commissions of trust in for example a housing association or sports association, which driver’s licenses you hold and other certificates of various kinds of voluntary work. Highlighting this shows commitment, motivation and that you are a reliable person who does not just have money as a driving force.
If it is not specifically requested in the job advertisement, you should not write the name and contact details of your references in your resume, but it usually comes in a later step in the recruitment process. Instead, write something like ‘references are gladly provided on request’.
However, it is good to think now who could be a good reference to use. Can it be a former colleague, manager, customer, teacher or course mate? You should of course choose people who you know will have positive things to say about you. It can also be good to have several different references: one that certifies how knowledgeable you are in a particular subject area and one that can tell more about how you are as a person and colleague for example. It is important to ask the people you intend to use as references and tell them what kind of service you are looking for.
To think of:
• Be careful with spelling and grammar – always ask someone else to proofread before submitting.
• Be extra careful that your contact information is correct – you do not want to miss a chance to interview because you forgot a number in your phone number.
• Customize your resume to any job you are looking for – it will dramatically increase your chances of getting an interview.
• Save your resume in PDF file format – it guarantees that the document looks the same on the recipient’s computer.
• Complete your resume with a personal letter in a uniform design.