What are they?
This CV format is a straightforward career CV, the type that most people think of when imagining a cv. They follow a fairly logical structure, designed to make it easy for the reader to track the candidate’s career path.
Chronological CVs are usually an effective format for candidates whose career has been reasonably steady, showing progression over time. If you are the type of person who has increased your responsibilities and gained promotions as you have changed roles, then a chronological CV will present your experience effectively.
Even if you haven’t necessarily gained promotions but your background mirrors a well-trodden route through roles that are common in your industry, then a career CV will probably also read well. The key is really whether your career track is likely to make sense to the reader, without too much explanation or clarification required.
The following are the key sections in a chronological CV.
Should I put Education first?
It depends on your level of seniority. If you are a junior or mid-career candidate you would usually place the education section towards the start of your CV. It is generally in the early stages of a candidate’s career that their degree and professional qualifications carry the most weight. Later as a career become more established the job roles, responsibilities and achievements begin to take priority. For this reason, senior candidates are usually advised to impress the reader with their career accomplishments in the first instance, before outlining educational qualifications.
The details that you should include in the education section are:
- Years of attendance
- Name of the institution
- Title of qualification and grade
- Thesis or principal area of study (if applicable)
How do I describe my roles?
Your job history can be structured in date order with the most recent position first before moving on to the previous roles. For each position employers will expect to see:
- Start and end dates (months and years)
- Job title
- Company name
- Location (for international roles)
- Very brief description of company activities
- Summary of your key responsibilities
- Description of your main achievements
Tip: Avoid the trap of just listing the duties that are on your job description. This is your CV and you must make it personal to you. Therefore think about the activities that you actually spent most time on and include those in your CV. Junior or mid-level candidates are unlikely to need more than six key responsibilities.
Languages, IT Skills and other Training
Depending on your skills you can divide the additional information into separate sections or include it in just one. This will also be determined by the type of role you are targeting, so that technical positions will call for more emphasis on IT skills, while vacancies with an international element would merit languages featuring more highly. In all cases, it is recommended to include the skill level and how they were used. For example: Advanced oral and written Spanish gained over two years while teaching second level students in Barcelona.’