Chronological Format

The chronological form is useful when:

If you have gaps in time between jobs or in your education, this may not be the most suitable format for you. However, if you do choose this format, be prepared to account for the gaps during the interview.

For combination and chronological format resumes, this is the section on which employers generally place the most value.

The first thing that you should decide is whether you want to group paid and unpaid experience together or have separate sections. If you do not have very much paid experience, then you should group them together. If you are grouping them together then appropriate headings might be: "Experience" or "Professional & Volunteer Experience." However, many have held both paid and unpaid positions simultaneously. Listing these in the same section in reverse chronological order may confuse the employer. If you have at least three paid positions, devote a separate section to them. You might call this section "Work Experience." If you include a volunteer experience section, have it follow the work experience section and use the same guidelines provided below.

How far back should you go? If you do not have a lot of work experience it is a good idea to include all of it. On the other hand, if you have 20 years of experience, then you do not need to include all of it, unless you have a good reason for doing so. Our suggestion is to include only those positions that are relevant to the position you are applying to.

Information requirements for this section include: the employer’s name, location (city & province), dates of employment, position/job title, summary of responsibilities and accomplishments. You do not need to include the full address, supervisor’s name and contact number unless the employer specifically requests it. It's a good idea to leave out the months, not only because this is an easy area to make mistakes in, but also because it will help cover any gaps you may have in your employment history.

State the full name of the corporation rather than using acronyms that may not be familiar to a prospective employer. For dates of employment include the start and end dates. The month and year are sufficient. Do not embellish your job title to make it sound more glamorous than it really was. Unless the job title given to you by the company was unusual stick to that one. In the case that it may be unusual, for example "group leader," you may use something more common, such as "supervisor."

When describing duties and accomplishments, in general the more recent the job the more detail you should provide. However, if a previous work experience is more relevant to the type of work you are seeking now, then more detail on that experience should be conveyed. When providing details of the positions you held, include three pieces of information:

1. Basic responsibilities, industry or company specific information.

2. Specific skills required.

3. Accomplishments/achievements

Try and keep responsibilities brief. Devote more space to your accomplishments. If your job title is relatively explanatory you do not need to go into detail on the specifics. For instance if you were a "Customer Service Representative", you need not explain what a customer service representative does.

Whenever describing accomplishments be precise. If possible, quantify your results. For example, "reorganized order processing procedures to reduce time required by 30%."

Chronological Format Examples

Here is an example for someone involved in software sales:

Software Consultant: Aerosoft Inc., Vancouver, British Columbia (1999-present).


Promotions are something you should be proud to communicate, but they are often not conveyed clearly. One way to display that you have been with a company for a long time and received promotions is to first list the company name, location, and when you first started with the company. Then list your most recent position and how long you’ve held that position, along with your responsibilities and accomplishments. Following this should be the position you held before and so on.

Promotion Example

Bigstar Development Corporation - Toronto, Ont., 1984 – present

You can use the sledgehammer approach and add "Promoted to..." in the titles if you feel they will miss the hint.