A Twist On The Chronological Resume


Most employers agree that they would like to have your employment history in a chronological order which helps them understand your progression from one position to another. Human beings in general like things in some orderly fashion that is common to them, and in so doing, makes it easy to understand without too much time being taken adjusting to a unique format.

However, suppose the job that you have decided to apply for now is one that your most recent employment doesn’t really fit well with. Further let us suppose that you have in fact had some jobs in your past that are indeed better related to the one you now want. In a case such as this, if you list your employment in a strictly chronological order, the person responsible for deciding who should be interviewed might just pass your resume over completely if they scan the first and second job only and relegate yours to the trash bin.

You could be perfect for the position but never get an interview, and therefore no chance to sell yourself in person. Today’s blog has a response to this situation and one that you might find works for you.

In order to make things easy to understand, let’s assume you’ve found a job you wish to apply to as a Stone Mason. You have the experience and education having worked in the field 7 years ago. The problem is that since that job 7 years ago, you’ve spent 3 years as a salesperson with a big box store and 4 years working for your father-in-law with his mattress factory. Your past two jobs; the factory and retail store are not nearly as relevant as the job you did as a Stone Mason 7 years ago, but that was 7 years ago! Listing your jobs in order, that job will be number 3 on your work history, and hidden for the interviewer to quickly see.

Here’s the solution. After your Qualifications section, which is usually near the top of the resume, one usually lists the Employment History section. Instead of this heading, create one that is called, “Relevant Employment History”. In this section start with the job most relevant – the Stone Mason job you had 7 years ago. If you have any additional jobs related to the one you are now applying for, add them here too. Next, create another heading entitled, “Other Employment History”. In this section list all other jobs, from most recent backward. Both sections are in chronological order in other words, the the employer will first be encouraged to keep you in mind for the short list by seeing your relevant work right up front.

Another thing most applicants fail to do is keep the job they are applying for front in center as they write down the various things they accomplished in past jobs. Put yourself in the position of the company. What they are thinking as they read everything on your resume is, “How would this person’s experience and what they’ve done be relevant to my company and what the job here demands? So in the case of the retail sales job, instead of saying you sold men’s clothing, why not extol your experience persuading customers to make additional purchases, and understanding their needs clearly at the outset? If you understand what people really want in clothes, maybe you’ll really understand what customers want in terms of their needs in stone too.

Here’s hoping this job advice is practical and of help to some of you out there! All the best!

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