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Chronological Resume and Evaluating Unusual Parts of Your Resume

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Summary: Writing a properly composed chronological resume is essential. Listing of your accomplishments should be in a reverse chronological order. Any specific achievements like your publications or honors should be mentioned. Evaluation of the resume should not be avoided.

Chronological Resume and Evaluating Unusual Parts of Your Resume

Chronological Resume

Begin by reviewing the section you titled Background and Experience, Relevant Experience or Experience.
  1. Are your positions listed in reverse chronological order?
  2. Did you write the descriptions of your duties, responsibilities and functions of your last position in the present tense? (Even when you're not working, you want to imply that you are. Using the present tense is not deceitful. For all practical purposes, that's still what you are.)
  3. Have you described the duties, responsibilities and functions for other positions you had in the past tense?
  4. Have you described your experience in short sentences? (Please, no more than a line, or at most two for a single sentence.) Have you used simple, forceful language? Does each statement begin with a strong verb? Do the statements show that you managed, delegated, planned, organized, developed or otherwise controlled your job? Or do your statements make your performance sound passive and low level? (You assisted, helped, participated in, represented, handled) Or worse yet, did you use nouns to describe your duties and responsibilities rather than strong active verbs?
  5. Does your record show increasingly higher-level duties and responsibilities?
  6. Are the descriptions of the most recent positions longer than those for earlier positions? (Most recent positions could have up to five or six lines of description, although three or four lines is better. Earlier positions should be described in no more than two or three lines of print.)
  7. What about the order of the functions, duties or responsibilities within a statement about a position? Did you put the most important aspects of the job first, and the less important or less time-consuming aspects later?
  8. Did you include descriptions for only the last 15 or 20 years? (If your entire working life was with one company, you may include it all. Otherwise, if you have worked longer than 20 years or so, only include the earlier years if you did something during those years that is important to explain your qualifications for the current job title.
Evaluating the Remaining Sections of your Resume

Now look at each section you've included in the resume. With an Achievement Resume, especially one you're trying to get on one page, you may have included only Education and Business Affiliations headings. In a Chronological Resume, you may have included other headings. Consider if the section should even be in this resume. Does it contain enough information to be useful? Does it add to the picture of your competence? Have you listed your business affiliations in reverse order, most recent to most distant? Have you listed too many of these? (Remember, you need only go back 15 to 20 years.)

Have you listed your education in reverse order? (Education is something employers will check, so your listings must be correct.) Do you need to include any short courses or seminars to validate some of your claims? (Don't put in too many, as they seem to call attention to shortcomings.) Have you earned any special licenses or registrations?

Do you need all of the information you've put in the Personal section? The catchall term "Will travel/relocate" is often enough. Don't restrict your job opportunities by listing "Houston area only," even if that's true.

Don't mention marital status unless you're interested in applying for overseas positions which don't have family housing and are available to singles only. If you have any special abilities or skills which might be of value on the job, include them. Example: Speak Italian, Spanish and French; have traveled extensively in Europe, South America and the Far East. Licensed to fly single-engine aircraft. Omit hobbies and membership in social or community organizations-unless you've done something in a community organization that might strengthen your job bid (Chairperson of the United Way Campaign, President of Rotary, President of the Chamber of Commerce).

Should you have included any other section? Have you received business honors or published articles or books? Do you hold any patents? If so, include the most important in a category you call Honors and Publications, Honors and Awards, Publications, Patents or whatever fits your situation. Don't cover any of these achievements under the heading Selected Achievements, Do it one place or the other, not both. Don't list all of your publications by name and journal or publisher. Give titles only, on those most relevant to the job you're looking for, and include the others in a catchall statement such as "numerous others in the area of".

Do you have any professional affiliations (job-related organizations only) which add to your stature? Do you have an office in the organization or have you held one? If you do, consider adding a Professional Affiliations heading.
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