How do I write a chronological CV?

A chronological CV, that lists your employment and educational history in date order, is an excellent way of showing your career progression and highlighting how you’ve grown in your roles, what you’ve learnt and what you’ve done.

The key to raising your CV above others is to highlight the valuable skills that will be of interest to potential employers. As with any form of job application, it’s important to make sure whatever you’re writing has relevance for the reader, so think about what they’re looking for and use your knowledge of the role, the organisation and the broader industry landscape to make your CV content resonate.

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Essential inclusions of a chronological CV are your name, contact details (address, email and phone) and a short personal profile or mission statement that sums up you and your ambitions. You also need to include your education and qualifications, as well as any relevant work experience and employment history, in reverse chronological order (most recent first). There’s no need to waste space on references – if you’re called for interview you can discuss them then – but do be sure to include bullet points about your key transferable skills, to ensure they really stand out.

Here’s a rundown of the essential inclusions of a chronological CV, in the order in which they should appear:

1. Your name - This should sit at the top and serve as a header. If your CV runs to more than one page, be sure to include your name in the footer, too, in case the pages become separated once printed.

2.Contact details - If you already have a well-established career and therefore a lot to include, you can save space by putting your contact details all on one line, directly underneath your name.

3. Personal profile or mission statement – Make it concise, snappy and persuasive. Think of it as your elevator pitch.

4. Educational establishments attended and qualifications gained – These should be listed in reverse chronological order, with dates to the year. If you’re a recent graduate or newcomer to the industry, it’s important to write your qualifications out in full. For candidates with a longer career history, who gained their qualifications some time ago and therefore have more relevant and up-to-date accolades to focus on, simply writing ‘7 GCSEs grades A-C, including Maths and English’ is enough.

5. Employment history - Include name of company and full job title, with dates to the month and year, in reverse chronological order.

6. Key skills– Use a maximum of five bullet points, each of no more than two lines, and focus on transferable skills that will put you in a strong position during the selection process.

7. Additional points of interest – Mention any hobbies, pastimes or language skills that have relevance to the role you’re applying for but don’t bother with unimportant information about family life or spare time pursuits.

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