A German CV

Chronological CV writing guide

Organise your CV in reverse chronological order

Amongst the varying types of CVs jobseekers can choose to create, a chronological CV serves to highlight your progressive career and list both the work experience and education section in a reverse chronological order.

The chronological CV is probably the most common CV format used, although you may opt for a different type of CV depending on your personal situation and career stage. Other CVs, such as combination CVs and functional CVs, put other aspects of your professional CV under the spotlight, such as your skills and abilities.

Despite CVs being increasingly creative, it is still recommended that you list parts of your CV in reverse chronological order. You can use chronological CV templates to create a CV with a pre-formatted template designed by professionals.

It’s vital that the layout of your CV is well organised in order to enable recruiters to process your information quickly and comprehensively.

 

What is a chronological CV?

The classic chronological CV structure enables recruiters to view the development of your career and academic background in a neatly organised format starting with the most recent entry listed at the top.

You can choose to write a personal statement or a CV objective at the beginning of your CV and then follow it with either your work history or academic background. Deciding whether to list your education or work experience first is entirely up to the individual, as it can depend on career stage and recent qualifications or jobs.

When is it appropriate to use a Chronological CV?

As a chronological CV is so popular amongst most jobseekers, it’s almost always appropriate to use a chronological CV template.

It can be beneficial to those with a progressive career and help to emphasise professional growth, promotions received and strengthen your experience. If your work history relates to the job for which you wish to apply, listing your relevant jobs in a reverse chronological order shows prospective employers how you have built your career and progressed successfully.

In all cases, listing your academic background in a reverse chronological order enables recruiters to understand your education in a well-formatted and organised manner. However, perhaps the chronological format of a CV isn’t particularly helpful if you have an academic qualification which is relevant to the job post but not the most recent, meaning recruiters may be likely to miss it or not give it as much importance.

How to write a chronological CV

Writing a chronological CV can be as easy as viewing a few chronological CV examples to get a better idea of what is considered a classic chronological CV and which templates suit your personal profile best.

The following information will guide you through how to write a chronological CV section by section.

Personal details

  • Full name
  • Mobile number
  • Email address
  • LinkedIn handle (if you have one)

Don’t include too much personal information, as it can be seen as discriminatory or prejudice. Despite other European countries including more personal information such as age and nationality, chronological CVs in the UK don’t require any more personal information than those listed above.

Work experience

There are various suggestions when it comes to writing your previous work history on your chronological CV. You can divide this section of your CV into two, forming a relevant work history and other work history section. The advantages of creating such sections and separating them from one another enables recruiters to view all relevant work experience easily.

However, many suggest that jobseekers don’t include other work experience in their chronological CV in order to keep CV content as relevant to the job listing as possible.

Order your work experience from the most recent to the least recent so that prospective employers can observe how you have progressed academically and which abilities you possess.

Don’t forget that you can include voluntary work in your work experience section if you feel that it contributes well to the job application. It may link to the same sector or it may have provided you with certain knowledge which provides you with skills for the job.

If you have unemployment gaps in your career, you may find that a chronological CV leaves you at a disadvantage. The neat organisation and chronological order of the CV mean that it is easy to notice gaps between jobs, so whether you haven’t worked for a year or five, it’s noticeable. While you don’t want to include every job you’ve worked in, you don’t want large gaps on your CV which can make you look unemployable.

Education

List your most recent academic qualifications to highlight any certificates or qualifications you gained recently. To make new qualifications stand out further, you can contemplate listing your education above the work experience section. This could work well if you recently finished a degree or a course which has some form of connection with the job for which you are applying.

List all of your education but don’t write heaps about less important qualifications or you’ll have no room for other parts of your CV. For example, for your GCSEs, simply state the amount and the range of grades achieved. E.g. 10 GCSEs A*-B.

In the case that you have many years of work experience, it’s not necessary to include all of your academic background on your chronological CV. Instead, choose the highest or most relevant academic qualification to include.

Skills

Your skills shouldn’t necessarily be listed in a chronological order, but perhaps it would be influential to order them in a powerful list which reinforces your abilities and skills. Ideally, you should bullet point your skills in an aim to keep this section of your chronological CV short.

Interests and hobbies
This is an additional section of a CV, which you can also include in a chronological CV. Though not compulsory on a CV, writing about your interests and hobbies on a CV can influence recruiters in a more subtle manner. For example, if you are applying for a job in illustration and you are interested in photography. This could mean that you could be capable of doing more than just the illustration job and contribute to the photography team the design department may have.

Try not to overdo the amount of hobbies and interests you list and make sure you keep them relevant to the type of job for which you are applying. View chronological CV examples if you are wondering how the interests and hobbies section should look on a CV.

References

Nowadays, it’s often advised not to include any references on your CV and instead, to use the space for something more relevant, powerful or influential.
Quite often, recruiters will not want to contact referees until they have shortlisted applicants, therefore saving time.

If you do choose to include references in your chronological CV, make sure you ask permission from your referees first. It won’t look great when recruiters contact a disoriented person unaware as to their role as a referee nor for which type of job you are applying.

Starting your chronological CV

It can be stressful writing a CV with so many different things to think about.

Which design looks more professional?
Is everything well-formatted?
How can you fit everything onto 1-2 A4 pages?
Which type of CV is the best one?

All of these questions can be solved easily with a pre-formatted and professionally designed CV template. Not only does our OnlineCV maker give you plenty of templates to choose from, but it also guides you through the process of creating your CV.

Tips for starting your chronological CV:

  • It’s not essential to include an address. However, if you wish to demonstrate that you are a local or live nearby, feel free to include one.
  • Your full name should be the largest font on your CV (not overly large) and consequently title your CV. Never title your chronological CV “curriculum vitae” or “CV”.
  • Ensure that all personal details are correct or else this will prevent recruiters from contacting you.
  • List a professional email address.
  • If you’re adding a personal statement or CV objective, consider writing it after you’ve finished writing your CV. This way you can reread through your CV and encompass your strong points in a perfect summary.

You can also view chronological CV examples for inspiration and ideas, but remember that while the design is important, the content is crucial. Read samples which give good examples of terminology that you should be using when writing a professional CV. Powerful vocabulary makes for a powerful job application.

Note: view chronological CV templates for insight and inspiration but don’t steal ideas or content. A CV needs to represent an accurate professional profile of the person who will present her/himself for an interview. There’s no use creating a chronological CV and inventing a character that doesn’t share the same characteristics as you.

Chronological CV advantages and disadvantages

There are advantages and disadvantages of using a chronological CV format as there are with using many CV templates and layouts. While chronological CVs are the most popular type of CV, jobseekers should consider the advantages and disadvantages individually.

Advantages of a chronological CV

  • Most common type of CV and therefore most recognisable and understandable
  • You can highlight your career progression easily with a reverse chronological CV
  • With a reverse chronological order, recruiters can navigate their way around your CV much easier
  • With a well-organised layout, you can highlight skills, responsibilities and tasks from previous jobs which strengthen your job application

Disadvantages of a chronological CV

  • Listing your work experience in a chronological order can draw attention to unemployment gaps
  • If you’ve been in and out of different jobs for short periods of time it can make you look unreliable
  • For job seekers with little work experience, it can make you look underqualified
  • If you are changing careers, a chronological CV may make your inexperience stick out
  • For jobseekers with no experience, it can leave you at a disadvantage. Try to present your CV in a different way to ensure that recruiters don’t immediately discard your application

 

For more information on different types of CV, read about skill-based CVs and combination CVs and the array of advantages they provide for jobseekers.