A chronological CV is the most usual format of CV. It lists your details, under appropriate headings, in reverse chronological order.
When to use a chronological CV
Chronological CVs are best when you have had continuous employment with no gaps. If you do have gaps, then mention them and give an appropriate reason for them, such as bringing up a family. If you have gaps in your CV because you have been in prison, contact a careers adviser to discuss how to disclose this on your covering letter.
However it can end up as just a list of what you've done, leaving the employer with very little idea about what you are like as a person.
You should include
- your contact details
- education and qualifications, degree subject, class (attained or expected), modules studied, A levels, always with dates and grades, summarised GCSE/O levels or CSEs
- all paid or unpaid work experience, even if unrelated to the job applied for
- responsibilities, achievements and skills developed in these posts
- activities and interests, current rather than from times past
- achievements and additional skills, such as languages, IT.
You might like to include a short paragraph about your key skills or career aims after your personal details.
You don’t need to include
- your nationality, unless you will need a UK work permit
- your marital status
- details and ages of your children
- your health status
- school and university addresses
- examining boards
- minor qualifications unrelated to the post applied for.
The most important point is that you are comfortable with it - it’s your CV and you need to feel it represents you accurately and effectively.
Chronological CV examples
The following two examples demonstrate the important points to bear in mind when designing a chronological CV, such as how to
- present your personal details
- explain your qualifications
- describe your work experience and skills gained
- detail skills gained from non-work activities
- create a positive visual impression.
Chronological CV Example 1: Mohammed Hafiz
Vacancy: Nature Reserve Warden
Chronological CV - Mohammed
Hafiz (PDF, 29KB)
- Although only the most recent paid job is relevant, all the voluntary work is directly so, and demonstrates commitment to conservation over a long period of time.
- There are a number of posts of responsibility, which include handling money and supervision of staff, but there are also relevant skills listed that would be appropriate for the post of nature reserve warden, like IT and DIY.
- In this example Mohammed’s degree is linked to the job, but even if yours is not it is often possible to show that you have acquired relevant skills while studying for it, like time management, meeting deadlines and forward planning - all skills that mature students develop while distance learning.
- Mohammed has identified the requirements outlined in the job specification and reflected them as closely as possible in the CV by providing the evidence outlined below.
Evidence relating to job specification and requirements
- Supervising staff, at a centre and as a concierge clerk
- Dealing with the public with different levels of knowledge, at centre and as a volunteer
- Working with volunteers, organising working parties for local members’ group
- Budgeting at a centre and at a sports shop, IT skills for stocktaking and ordering sales goods
- Working on manual projects on a reserve (e.g. fence building and reed removal)
- Working on reserves with local members’ groups, DIY under interests
Chronological CV Example 2: Daniel Rossi
Vacancy: Senior Financial Manager
Chronological CV - Daniel Rossi
- Very concise style of writing that recruiters often appreciate
- Profile gives a useful summary of career aim
- Provides a summary of each position, with more details for his most recent position which contains his most impressive achievements. Describing the number of staff he is responsible for and the specific amount by which he has reduced staff costs helps to put his experiences into context
- Illustrates the content of OU study by providing examples of relevant projects undertaken and mentioning skills developed as a result of this study
- IT skills - is able to demonstrate the extent of his competence by using examples and giving frequency of use
- Additional interests have been shown in terms of the skills developed