What is a Chronological CV? And How to Write One

Chronological CV A Guide with Tips and Examples

The chronological CV is the most common CV format for UK jobseekers. The format follows a traditional structure, outlining your work experience, achievements and education in chronological order. In this article, we discuss how to write a chronological CV, delve into the benefits of using this format and outline some key tips to make the best possible impression with your applications.

Why Use a Chronological CV?

There’s a reason why the chronological CV is the most popular CV format for most job applicants. The format, also known as a ‘traditional’ CV format, presents all the information employers want to see, in a clear, structured layout.

The format gives priority to your work history, which in most cases, is the most relevant element of your experience. It's also the section of your CV employers are likely to pay the closest attention to. The format presents your most recent achievements first. Again, this gives priority to the information that’s most likely to indicate your suitability for the role.

Chronological CVs are widely accepted as the standard CV format, making it easy for employers to quickly pick out all the necessary information. This ease of use is increasingly important because hiring managers and recruitment officers may only take a few seconds to review your CV. Using this layout places the most critical information in a prominent position that’s simple to review at a glance.

However, despite the many positives of using the chronological CV format, there are some drawbacks to consider. If you don’t have much work experience, the chronological format might not be for you. If you want to emphasise other skills, experience and qualifications, opt for a functional or skills-based format.

Additionally, if you wish to make a splash with your CV and stand out from the crowd, it might be difficult to do so with a chronological format. For more creative roles, a creative CV template might work better. It’s worth remembering, though, that more design-heavy CV layouts might be unsuitable for some traditional professions. These tend to favour a more established layout.

"Chronological CVs are widely accepted as the standard CV format, making it easy for employers to quickly pick out all the necessary information."

What Does a Chronological CV Include?

A chronological CV has all the standard sections you’d expect to include in your document. There are also some optional sections you can add, depending on your experience, the role you’re applying for and how long you want your CV to be. These are the sections of a standard chronological CV:

Essential sections:

  • Contact information
  • CV objective or summary
  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Skills

Optional sections:

  • Certifications
  • Training
  • Languages
  • Volunteer work
  • Hobbies

How to Write a Chronological CV: Step-by-Step Guide

Follow this guide to writing each section of your chronological CV:

Contact information

Your CV header includes all your contact information. Add your first and last name, your address or location, your email address and your phone number. If you want to add your LinkedIn or links to any portfolios or personal websites, you can put them here. Be careful not to include too much personal information.

CV objective or summary

Write two or three sentences summarising your experience, skills and career objectives. This is your chance to make a strong first impression, so think carefully about the content of this section. Consult the job description and use strong verbs to show you meet the requirements of the role.

Work experience

List each relevant job from your work history in reverse-chronological order, starting with your current or most recent role. For each role, include your job title, employer’s name, location and the dates you worked there. Under each entry, add bullet points outlining your responsibilities and achievements in the role, referring to the skills and experience listed in the job description.


Include details of your highest or most relevant qualifications, including degrees, diplomas or professional qualifications. Add the course name and level of the award, the institution, its location and your dates of study or graduation. If you have space, you may wish to add some bullet points outlining your achievements and any specialist areas of study.


You can include your skills as a single list, or as a list of hard, technical skills and a separate list of soft, transferable skills. Pay attention to the job description and make sure your skills reflect the requirements for the role.

Optional sections

If you have space, or you want to emphasise particular skills and experience outside your work history and education, you can add some optional sections at the end of your CV. These include certifications and training, languages, volunteer work and hobbies and interests.

Key Tips for Your Work Experience Section

Follow these key tips to make sure your work experience section makes a positive impression with hiring managers:

  • Consult the job description: before you write your CV, read the job description to understand the skills and experience the employer is looking for. Make sure your work experience section reflects the job description to show why you’re suitable for the role.
  • Use action verbs: for each bullet point in your work experience section, use an action verb to show what you achieved. Use words that reflect skills and abilities listed in the job description. Verbs such as ‘managed’, ‘developed’, ‘delivered’, ‘accomplished’, ‘increased’ and ‘created’ help to make a positive impression.
  • Quantify your achievements: rather than describing your duties, focus on achievements and the impact you made. You could do this by referencing data and statistics such as sales or profit figures, key performance indicators, customer satisfaction scores or feedback from managers.

Work Experience Section Examples

Take a look at these example work experience sections, for inspiration when writing your own:

"Customer Service Manager, Amaze Digital Ltd, Hatfield, April 2014 – November 2019

  • Managed a team of six customer service representatives, responding to customer enquiries for an innovative software developer
  • Developed a customer service response flowchart to standardise the handling of complaints and enquiries
  • Introduced a customer service audit process, to track performance and ensure consistent high standards
  • Increased customer satisfaction scores by 37%"

"Senior Accountant, Hendrick Accountancy Services, Rotherham, September 2012 – January 2019

  • Provided accountancy services to a portfolio of 40+ small and medium-sized businesses in the Brighton and Hove area
  • Produced monthly/quarterly financial reports and reported findings to senior management
  • Processed invoicing and payments for transactions up to £100,000
  • Delivered new and repeat business to a value, on average, of £650,000 per year"

"Marketing Executive, Oregon Marketing Ltd, Brighton, July 2021 – present

  • Developed marketing campaigns for six clients in the education sector, including Russell Group universities and renowned independent schools
  • Provided account management support to ensure clear communication and maintain strong relationships with key clients
  • Contributed towards proposals and took part in pitches to win contracts up to the value of £1 million
  • Participated in award-winning digital campaigns for Open University and King’s College London"

Expert tip:

Although a chronological CV provides a linear history of your career, it doesn’t need to include every experience from your past. Consult the job description and make sure your CV focuses on the most relevant aspects of your experience, achievements and skills in a concise, easy-to-read summary of your career.

How to Tailor a Chronological CV for Different Jobs

To make the best possible impact with your chronological CV, it’s essential to tailor it for every job application. A generic, catch-all CV will never make a better impression than one that you've written specifically for a particular job. The most important aspect of tailoring your CV is reading the job description, and making sure the content you include fulfils the requirements described in it.

Tailoring your CV means including keywords and phrases from the job description, to reflect that you understand the role requirements. These also demonstrate that you have the necessary skills and experience. Use strong action verbs that mirror the language of the job description, and make sure every section (your CV summary, work experience, education and skills), is relevant to the brief.

Common Mistakes to Avoid on a Chronological CV

Avoid these common mistakes to ensure your CV impresses employers:

  • Including your entire career history: a chronological CV doesn’t need to be a complete account of everything you’ve done in your career. It should concentrate on proving you’ve got the skills and experience necessary to do the job described in the job advert.
  • Making it too long: the optimal length for a traditional, chronological CV is one to two pages of A4. The shorter, more concise you can make your CV, the better.
  • Adding irrelevant information: concentrate on adding information that directly references the skills and experiences laid out in the job description
  • Using jargon or over-elaborate language: keep your language simple and professional throughout. Try to use the most common terms and names for every skill and role you describe, as this will give your CV the best chance of passing any automated CV review stage (ATS).
  • Using an unattractive CV design: pick a CV layout that provides a clear structure and uses simple, attractive design features to enhance the content and hold the reader’s attention.

Key Takeaways for a Perfect Chronological CV

The chronological CV is the most suitable format for most job applications. It presents all the necessary information in a clear and familiar layout, making it easy for employers to assess your credentials. Ensure you tailor your CV for each job application, and refer to the job description to make sure it fully answers the brief. CVwizard can help you create a chronological CV that really catches the eye. Access a wealth of beautiful CV templates, and read our CV articles for tips on creating a winning CV. Sign up and follow the simple steps to get started.

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