The Chronological Resume

The chronological resume is the style most widely used, especially by new graduates who may not have much relevant or professional experience. As the name indicates, it is a chronological summation of your qualifications, listed with the most recent events first.

The chronological resume can vary in layout (location of headings, spacing) and in the labels used for different categories, but basically the following information needs to be included:

Education (or Educational background):
This category should include:degree, major (certification and concentration area if applicable), name and location of college, and date of graduation (month and year). If you have attended other colleges or universities, list the most recent first (also attended, or additional course work taken.) List your grade point average only if it is a 3.0 or higher. It is not necessary to include your high school graduation–that is assumed since you were able to get into college.

Experience (Related, professional experience, work experience or other):
Listing the most recent first, list your related experience. (If you do not have related experience to the job, begin then with "Work Experience.") Regardless, this section should include: title or position (highlight this with bold, underlining or capital letters), name of employer (company, organization, school), city and state of the organization. Describe your responsibilities using action words: "organized," "administered," "created." Eliminate minor details. DO point out accomplishments, special projects or increases in responsibility. Record dates of service (beginning and ending month and year).

Although it is most helpful to show that you have had experience related to what an employer is seeking, any kind of work experience shows you have initiative and are a responsible person, which is why it is ok to list both related and other experiences. If you are tight on space, consider listing the title, organization, city, state and dates alone for those positions which are unrelated to the job for which you are applying.

On a second page, you may want to list your references by name, title, organization, city, state and phone number so they can be contacted directly by prospective employers. (Never list someone as a reference without first getting their permission!) This is convenient for employers who prefer to check out references by phone.

The statement, "References available upon request," is also appropriate. It saves the most space on the resume and requires that the employer contact you for reference names, phone numbers and addresses.

Other information which is optional but you may want in your resume includes the following:

Objective (or Job objective, Career objective or Professional objective):
This should be as specific as possible without being too narrow. Your objective would be specific to 1) position, 2) field, organization, school system, 3) possibly location. It may also show the employer the abilities or skills you offer. You may want to make a broad statement (an entry level position in accounting, leading to a career in ...) and then state a preference (prefer cost accounting). This issue can be addressed more specifically in a cover letter that is tailored to a particular opening.

Avoid vague or general objectives that make it look as if you lack direction or purpose.
If you do not have a specific career objective, it would be best to leave this out entirely.

Professional development:
Adding this section is wise if you have attended conferences, workshops, seminars or gained specific training or certifications relating to your field of interest.

Extracurricular activities (or Activities and honors):
If you have been involved as a member of a group, organization, team or have received special honors, list those in this section. You should also indicate if you have held an office (i.e. president, secretary). It is helpful to list the number of years you were involved since involvement over a period of time will show you are a committed person. Be sure to explain the type of organization if it is not readily discernible from the name (i.e. F.C.A. - Fellowship of Christian Athletes). Remember that adding certain organizations (College Republicans or College Democrats) offers information to your employer- your political affiliation- that is unnecessary. Consider leaving these sorts of organizations off your resume.