A Guide to Writing a Reverse Chronological Order Resume

Updated 22 May 2023

A reverse chronological order resume uses a format that presents your most recent experience and education first. Some recruiters favour this type of resume because it allows them to see your career progression and evaluate your suitability for the role efficiently. Learning about resumes that follow a reverse chronological format can help you write one that showcases your achievements and career advancement. In this article, we answer the question 'What is a reverse chronological resume?', discuss how to write a resume with this format and provide a reverse chronological resume template and example to help you write yours.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

What is a reverse chronological order resume?

A reverse chronological order resume is a type of resume format that displays your work experience and educational credentials by starting with your most recent position or qualification. It's a common resume format many employers prefer, as it allows them to obtain an overview of your career path and skill development quickly and easily. A reverse chronological resume can also help hiring managers notice any gaps in your work history.

A reverse chronological resume format can be especially suitable if you have a consistent and progressive career path, as it allows you to highlight your career progression and accomplishments concisely. This can be beneficial when applying for jobs in industries that value a strong track record of experience, for example, finance, law and engineering. Overall, a reverse chronological resume can be an excellent way to highlight your dedication to your career, increase your credibility as a candidate and save recruiters time by providing an easily readable overview of your employment attributes.

Related: How to Make a Resume in Word: A Step-By-Step Guide

How to write a reverse chronological resume

Below, you can discover a guide to writing a resume using a reverse chronological format:

1. Start with a resume header

Your reverse chronological resume can start with a header that includes your full name, mobile number, professional email address and the city and state or territory where you live. Having this information at the top of your resume can ensure that recruiters can easily differentiate it from other candidates' resumes. If you have a qualification, for example, a Bachelor of Communication, you may also add this information to your header, next to your name.

Related: Best Resume Font Size (With Templates and Examples)

2. Draft an effective professional summary

This two to three-sentence section of your resume can focus on your key employment attributes to help you make an excellent first impression on the hiring manager. To highlight your suitability for the role, review the job description for the position you're applying for and identify keywords to include in your professional summary. For example, if the job description mentions the hiring workplace is seeking a candidate with five years of industry experience and well-developed manual dexterity, you can mention these criteria in your summary. Below, you can explore some examples of professional summaries:

  • Experienced marketing professional with a bachelor degree in marketing and five years of experience in creating and implementing successful marketing campaigns. Skilled in project management, data analysis and social media marketing.

  • Results-oriented Software Engineer with a Master of Computer Science and seven years of experience in developing scalable software solutions. Proficient in programming languages such as Python, Java and C++ and skilled in Agile development methodologies.

  • Seasoned healthcare administrator with a bachelor degree in healthcare management and 10 years of experience in managing medical facilities. Expertise in budget management, staff supervision and regulatory compliance, with a proven track record of improving patient satisfaction scores.

Related: How to Write a Resume Employers Will Notice

3. List the previous positions you've held

Next, you can list work experience that relates to the role you're applying for, beginning with your most recent position. Doing this can demonstrate your ability to undertake successfully the tasks associated with the vacant role. For each job, you can include the title of your role, the dates of your employment, the workplace's name and location and provide a brief description of your key duties and accomplishments. For example, if you're applying for the role of a veterinarian, your work experience may include a previous job as a veterinarian, a veterinary nurse or a research assistant.

4. Highlight your skills relevant to the role

Adding your skills to your resume helps you highlight your technical abilities, known as hard skills and interpersonal qualities, known as soft skills. The skills section of your resume provides a great opportunity for you to differentiate yourself from other candidates and demonstrate the value you can add to the hiring workplace. Focus on the most relevant skills that can help you perform in the role, for example, those mentioned in the job description. For instance, if you're applying for a job as a copywriter, the skills you include might be communication, organisation, time management and creativity.

Related: How to Show Technical Skills on Your Resume (With Examples)

5. Showcase your educational achievements

Including your educational background on your resume can help you show your level of expertise and commitment to the industry. For a reverse chronological resume, you can begin by including your most recent qualification. For each of your qualifications, consider adding the title of your degree, diploma or certificate, the name of the awarding institution and your date of graduation. If you're applying for a job as a marketing manager, for example, the education you include on your resume might be a Bachelor of Communications and a Certificate IV in Digital Media Technologies.

6. Proofread and edit

The final step to writing your reverse chronological resume can be reviewing your work to ensure that it's error-free and easy to read. By submitting a resume that's clear, correct and relevant to the role you're applying for, you can enhance your chances of impressing the hiring manager. You can consider asking a friend or family member to review your resume during this part of the process, as they might notice inconsistencies you miss.

Related: How to Create a Stand-Out Resume (With Template and Example)

Reverse chronological resume template

Below, you can explore a resume template to help guide you when writing a reverse chronological resume:

[Given name] [Family name], [Degree or certification, if applicable]
[Phone number] | [Email address] | [City], [State or Territory]

Professional Summary
[Two to three sentences highlighting years of experience, relevant skills, education or certifications and achievements as a professional.]

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [City], [State or Territory]

  • (strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome or quantified results

  • [job duty]

  • [job duty]

  • [job duty]

  • [job duty]

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [City], [State or Territory]

  • (strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome or quantified results

  • [job duty]

  • [job duty]

[Category]: [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill]
[Category]: [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill]

[Degree and major], [Name of school or university]

[Certification name], [Host organisation] – [Year completed or expiration date]

Related: Finding the Best Resume Template (With Tips and Examples)

Example of a reverse chronological resume

Here, you can review a reverse chronological resume example for an experienced massage therapist candidate:

Jane Dola, Bachelor of Health Science (Clinical Myotherapy) (08) 5550 5555 | jane.d@email.com.au | Perth, WA

Professional Summary
Experienced and compassionate massage therapist with over eight years of experience in various settings, including spas, wellness centres and chiropractic offices. Proficient in Swedish, deep tissue, hot stone and prenatal massage techniques. Possesses excellent communication and interpersonal skills and a passion for helping clients achieve their wellness goals.

Massage Therapist | Jan 2019–current
Refresh Spa | Perth, WA

  • administering massage treatments to clients to ease their physical and emotional tension, improve circulation and reduce stress levels

  • collaborating with clients to develop customised treatment plans and suggest self-care techniques to promote wellness

  • maintaining a hygienic and organised treatment room to enhance client comfort and meet company standards

  • educating clients about the benefits of regular massage therapy and recommending appropriate follow-up appointments to ensure great outcomes and client retention

  • staying up-to-date on industry trends, techniques and best practices through continuing education and professional development opportunities

Massage Therapist | Mar 2015–Dec 2018
Alex Chiropractic | Perth, WA

  • provided therapeutic massage services to clients with chronic pain, injuries and mobility issues to enhance their quality of life

  • assessed clients' conditions and developed personalised treatment plans to address their specific requirements

  • increased client retention by 30% through excellent customer service and developing strong relationships

Technical skills: Swedish massage | Deep tissue massage | Hot stone massage | Prenatal massage | Sports massage | Trigger point therapy
Soft skills: Communication | Active listening | Empathy | Problem-solving | Attention to detail | Time management

Bachelor of Health Science (Clinical Myotherapy), Western University

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