Reverse Chronological Order (On a Resume)
What is a reverse chronological resume? When you hear the term reverse chronological order you might not comprehend what that means when considering your resume or job application assets.
Reverse chronological order is a system for ordering lists of data or lists of information by their date. Chronological, the inverse of reverse chronological order is when data is sorted by their origin date, with the date furthest from the current date at the top of the list. This is then followed by other information blocks descending to the bottom of the list, which would conclude at an information block with the last item being closest to the current date.
Here’s an example of dates sorted in chronological order, assuming today’s date is February 1, 2020:
- November 2019
- December 2019
- January 2020
And here is an example of reverse chronological order, assuming today’s date is February 1, 2020:
- January 2020
- December 2019
- November 2019
As you can see, reverse chronological order is when the date nearest to today’s date is listed towards the top of the information list.
Let’s jump to understanding what it means for your resume and how you might be able to organize your resume information blocks in this data sorting manner.
Why Reverse Chronological Order is Best For Resumes
This ordering system is best for resumes because it indicates the most recent employment opportunity on behalf of the job seeker. For the employer, this provides easier comprehension opportunities.
In addition, this ordering system feels “more logical” to the reader as they begin to scan your work history or education history.
How to List Information in Reverse Chronological Order
When listing prior work history as part of your resume, you should be including the month and year of which you were employed by that organization.
Once you have your information blocks with month and year, you can organize them by their dates in reverse chronological order.
It’s okay to write your job history down in an unorganized, unordered fashion. But once you are finished writing your previous work history bullet points and job titles, be sure to organize your information blocks by their employment date, having your most recent employment date at the top of the list.
Ordering Work History and Education History
Reverse chronological order is best used for your work history as well as your education history. If you have certifications and are listing dates associated with those, be sure to list them in the same ordering system.
Making this your universal ordering system on the resume you present to employers will improve the overall readability of your resume. Making it easier for employers to comprehend your resume and personal or professional background.
When Reverse Chronological Shouldn’t Be Used
There is no circumstance that would present an opportunity to use any other type of information ordering system. You should always use reverse chronological ordering with your resume.
Examples of Resumes in Reverse Chronological Order
Below are resumes which have previous work history ordered in reverse chronological order. Note that their most recent employment is at the top of their “Work History” or “Previous Experience” resume section. With a descending work history ending up with their very first job in the professional's career at the bottom of the list.
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