Resume Samples & Templates

Reverse chronological CV writing techniques (With a sample)

You must update your CV before applying for a new position. The reverse chronological CV is one of the several CV forms that can be used. If you are unfamiliar with this CV style, it lists your work experience in order of most recent to oldest, and it works best for applicants who have a steady work history. In this post, we will examine the definition of a reverse chronological CV, provide writing tips, and provide a sample of this CV style.

What is a reverse chronological CV?

A reverse chronological CV (Curriculum Vitae) is one of the most common and traditional formats for presenting your professional and educational history. It is structured in reverse chronological order, meaning that it lists your most recent experiences and qualifications first, followed by older ones. This format is widely used because it provides a clear and easy-to-follow timeline of your career progression.

Here’s a typical structure and the key elements of a reverse chronological CV:

  1. Contact Information: Include your name, phone number, email address, and location (e.g., city and state) at the top of the document.
  2. Resume Summary or Objective (optional): Provide a brief, targeted summary of your career goals, skills, and what you can bring to the job. This section is optional but can be useful to highlight your key qualifications.
  3. Professional Experience: List your work history in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent or current job and working backward. For each position, include the following details:
    • Job title
    • Company name
    • Location
    • Employment dates (month and year)
    • Key responsibilities and accomplishments
  4. Education: List your educational qualifications, starting with the most recent or highest degree earned. Include the following information:
    • Degree earned
    • Major or field of study
    • Name of the educational institution
    • Location of the institution
    • Graduation date
  5. Skills: Highlight your relevant skills, such as technical skills, languages, certifications, or other competencies that are applicable to the job you’re seeking.
  6. Additional Sections (optional): Depending on your career and the job you’re applying for, you may include additional sections to showcase achievements, publications, presentations, awards, volunteer work, or other relevant information.

The reverse chronological CV format emphasizes your recent work experience and educational achievements, making it particularly effective if you have a strong and consistent job history that aligns well with your target position. This format is favored by many employers because it allows them to quickly see your career progression and assess the relevance of your experiences.

Keep in mind that while the reverse chronological format is widely used, it may not be the best choice for everyone. If you have employment gaps, frequently change jobs, or are transitioning to a new career where your most recent experiences are less relevant, you might consider alternative formats, such as a functional or combination CV. These formats allow you to emphasize different aspects of your qualifications.

An explanation of the reverse chronological CV

In a reverse chronological CV, sometimes called a chronological CV, you order your work experiences and achievements in order of importance. There are three different CV forms, including the following:

  • Chronological CV: Candidates with extensive and continuous work experience should use this format.
  • Functional CV: This format is appropriate for candidates who have had gaps in their jobs or have made many career transitions.
  • Combination CV: Candidates who have gained a variety of skills and talents in various sorts of roles should use this format. Their abilities may be more significant in this situation than their actual professional experience.

How to select a CV format

The optimum CV format can be determined by taking into account your experience and the job’s specified requirements. The steps for formatting your reverse chronological CV are as follows:

1. Examine the job description.

Take into account the specifications given in the job description while choosing the ideal CV format for a particular position. For instance, if you have a history of employment, a reverse chronological CV structure might be the ideal choice. Imagine the position you’re looking for places more emphasis on demonstrable talents and competencies. If so, it could be preferable for you to highlight your talents and abilities for potential employers by using a hybrid CV format.

2. Think about your professional background

A reverse chronological CV provides a brief overview of your most recent and important job history to potential employers. You make it simple for recruiters to review your CV and decide whether or not to consider you for a particular post by emphasizing your professional experience. Use a chronological format for your resume when:

  • You’ve worked in a particular field for several years.
  • You have expertise working for numerous companies in one industry
  • You rarely or never have breaks in employment.

A combination or functional CV can be the ideal option for you if you just finished college or your education and have little professional experience. When you have large gaps in your employment history or have been jobless for an extended period, a functional CV is helpful.

A hybrid CV might be more appropriate for you if you regularly switch between industries or positions during your career. This sort of CV highlights your transferrable skills and competencies for hiring managers.

Writing a reverse chronological CV: Some pointers

Your reverse chronological CV must contain details that are important to the job you wish to apply for. Your reverse chronological CV may be organized in the following order using this format:

  • Name and contact details
  • Summary or objective
  • Employment or job history
  • Academic qualifications
  • Talents and skills

The layout of the job experience section is the main distinction between this reverse chronological CV format and other formats. When using this approach, start by mentioning your most recent employment history. In your position description, you can try to include references to the keywords from the position description when you list the specifics of each work experience.

Your professional stage and the applicability of your educational background may affect where you include your professional experience and educational credentials. Let’s say you are a student and you are drafting a reverse chronological CV. In that situation, you might prioritize your academic background since it might give prospective employers useful information, particularly if you have finished coursework, earned certificates, or obtained certifications that are pertinent to the employment. If you have a significant amount of professional experience, you might wish to prioritize your work experience over your school background to highlight this.

What to put on a reverse chronological CV

The information you can put in your chronological CV is as follows:

Contact details and name

Your name and contact details are a good place to begin in this section. Your mobile number and email address are optional. Your postal address and, if necessary for the role, a link to your web portfolio are optional additions.

Summary or objective

To give employers considering your application a quick background, you might add a summary at the start of your reverse chronological CV. If you have a lot of experience in one field, you can emphasize your knowledge and abilities here. Your summary can concentrate on your short-term objectives if you are a new graduate. A student might use the following sample summary statement:

‘Ambitious and aspirational student studying at the College of Oxford pursuing a BA in advertising. I’m eager to work with UK Monthly as a rookie marketer to develop data-driven marketing initiatives that will increase the company’s media presence.’

Employment or job history

Any applicable work experience you possess can be included in your career history. You begin this reverse chronological CV by listing your most recent or present position. Consider applying for the position of dental assistant, for instance. Then, if it pertains to the healthcare or dental industries, you can mention your employment history, beginning with your present workplace and going back to your first position after graduation.

You might think about your previous professional experience that is most pertinent to your next job in this portion of your resume. For instance, you might have held a waiter position while attending school. In this situation, as it is unrelated to the dentistry position you are seeking, you may decide not to mention this employment experience in your resume.

Academic qualifications

The arrangement of your CV’s academic part can be the same as its section on professional experience. Before discussing earlier qualifications, you can mention your most recent educational accomplishments. Include only the most recent or pertinent information for a given position. If you are pursuing a postgraduate degree, for instance, you do not need to disclose your academic credentials on your resume. Your CV’s academic section can list your coursework and academic credentials. It may also contain information about your previous academic achievements, such as the honors you have won.

Talents and skills

Concentrate on your most pertinent talents in this section. Your list of abilities and skills must be relevant to the demands of the job you want. Your abilities and skills can be divided into two categories: hard or technical capabilities and soft or interpersonal skills. Decide which of your talents aligns with those needed for the position by carefully reading the job description, then include those listed in this section.

Achievements and interests

Your interests and accomplishments should only be included after your reverse chronological CV if they’re pertinent to the job you are looking for. To keep your resume compact, succinct, and legible, it would be advisable to omit these sections if your resume spans numerous pages. For instance, if you’re applying for a job as a public relations officer and you belong to a presenters’ club and have won prizes for public speaking, your success as a public speaker is relevant to the position you want. If your resume isn’t too extensive, you may list it near the end in this case.

A reverse chronological CV sample

The methods mentioned above are used in the sample below. It can provide inspiration for your CV writing:

Theo Jones

Manchester, England | 09123 567 133


An efficient and amiable dental assistant with more than a decade of experience dealing with patients and dental clinics.

Work history

Regiline Community Dentistry, Dental assistant

February 2014–Present

  • Clean up and get the orthodontic rooms ready.
  • Prepare patients beforehand to ensure that stay calm during their dental treatment
  • Inform patients about common dental treatments and procedures.

Sama Dental, Office Clerk

September 2009–January 2014

  • Control the appointment schedule for patients
  • Welcoming and accepting patients when they arrive
  • Keep track of patient billing and other documents.

Academic qualifications

Specialized Dental College

July 2007–August 2009

Certification Program for Dental Assistants


Among my abilities as a dental assistant are:

  • Certification for X-rays
  • Imprints of dentures
  • Small-scale oral surgery


Most job seekers should use a reverse chronological resume since it will highlight their qualifications in a way that is simple to scan and is ideal for both recruiters and applicant tracking systems (ATSs). Your job experience, which should be stated starting with your present or most recent job and going backward in time from there, should be the main focus of a reverse chronological resume.

Frequently Asked Questions on Reverse Chronological CV

  • How should a reverse chronological order be written?

When the timeline is presented in reverse chronological order, the most recent occurrences are placed before the oldest. It involves putting your most recent position and accomplishments at the front of your resume. And moving on from there in the reverse order.

  • Should a resume be organized reverse-chronologically?

It’s preferable to stick to adopting a reverse chronological structure if your career chronology and employment history are inconsistent. Using the chronological resume structure would be more appropriate if there weren’t many gaps in your professional experience.

  • Why do employers choose reverse chronological order on resumes?

The most recent and pertinent information is highlighted first, as opposed to listing in chronological order. Additionally, because it displays a continuous chronology of your career, it conceals any gaps in your job history. Consequently, employers can quickly see your career development and business advancement.

  • What Should I Do If I Have Employment Gaps in a Reverse Chronological CV? Many job seekers encounter employment gaps at some point in their careers due to reasons such as job loss, illness, travel, or taking time off to raise a family. When faced with employment gaps in a reverse chronological CV, here are some considerations:
    • Honesty: Be honest about the gaps in your work history. Gaps can be explained briefly on your CV or during an interview.
    • Address in Cover Letter: You can use your cover letter to briefly explain any employment gaps, focusing on the steps you took during that time to stay productive or any skills you developed.
    • Use a Functional CV: If you have extensive gaps or multiple jobs with short durations, consider using a functional or combination CV format, which allows you to emphasize your skills and qualifications rather than a strict chronological work history.
    • Volunteer Work: If you engaged in volunteer work, freelance projects, or pursued relevant courses during employment gaps, include these activities in your CV to demonstrate your continued skill development and commitment.
  • How Far Back in Time Should I Go with a Reverse Chronological CV? Job applicants often wonder how many years of work history they should include in a reverse chronological CV. The general guideline is to focus on the most recent 10-15 years of your career. Here’s how to approach it:
    • Relevance: Prioritize recent experiences that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for. Older positions may become less relevant over time, so it’s okay to omit them if they don’t add significant value to your application.
    • Highlight Achievements: Ensure that the jobs you include in your CV, especially the recent ones, highlight your achievements and the skills that align with the desired position.
    • Education: While your education should always be listed, consider omitting details about your high school if you have a college degree. If you have an extensive work history, the relevance of high school details diminishes.
    • Stay Concise: Keep your CV concise and readable. Hiring managers typically prefer shorter, focused resumes over lengthy ones, so prioritize the most recent and relevant experiences.
    When deciding how far back to go in your CV, consider the specific requirements of the job you’re applying for and your overall career trajectory. The goal is to present a document that showcases your qualifications, with a primary focus on recent experiences and accomplishments.

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