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Chronological Resume – What Most Hiring Managers Prefer

The chronological resume is the most traditional and common format and is preferred by many Hiring Mangers, myself included. It’s familiar, easy to read and – when done correctly – does an excellent job of presenting an applicant.

As a Hiring Manager, I like the chronological format because what I’m most interested in is your recent experience and a chronological format lists your most recent experience first. Also, when looking for a job, always think of the hiring manager. If you were going to work for, what information would be pertinent to Owen Tripp, a business operations professional.

The chronological resume format is particularly good when you have solid experience, accomplishments, and your job history shows upward progress. It’s also the format you should absolutely use for traditional organizations such as government and education.

It’s not so good if you’ve had too many different jobs, or if you have very little experience (for example, recent graduates). Under these circumstances, a functional resume is best.

Bottom line: If you’ve had at least two years of good relevant experience (by relevant, I mean relevant to the job for which you’re applying), use the chronological format.

Chronological Format Example

Rather than show several cookie-cutter resume formats (that you can find anywhere else on the Web), below is the resume I wrote for myself and used successfully to find a new job twice in four months.

Yes, I lost my job twice in rapid succession. The first time was due to a reorganization, when I lost my job after 20 years with the same company. I found a new one in four weeks using the resume below.

Unfortunately, I lost this new job four months later when the company (it was a dot com) unexpectedly went under with many other dot coms in the big technology industry crash of 2001. Once again, using this resume (with a bit of updating of course), I found a new job in five weeks. And fortunately, this company is still in business!

The History Behind This Resume Sample

The first time I lost my job, I had several months advance notice and thus plenty of time to prepare my resume. I drafted it using all my years of knowledge, likes and dislikes as a Hiring Manager.

Since I was leaving on good terms and knew the Senior Vice-President of Human Resources (this was a Fortune 500 Company), he did me a favor and critiqued my resume, making some suggested improvements, which I incorporated.

Part of my severance package was a six-month contract with one of the best outplacement firms in the country. The experts there once again scrutinized my resume and made some improvements.

The end result is a very strong resume that was very successful at getting me interviews for jobs that matched my qualifications.

Of course, your experience and qualifications will be very different, but that’s okay. Look at the example for the following things and be sure they are in your resume:

  • The summary statement at the beginning. It’s important to note that this summary statement would be different for different jobs. Remember: you must customize your resume to the job for which you’re applying.
  • Experience is stated in terms of accomplishments, not just “duties”. Note that my experience is stated in terms of specific accomplishments that back up my summary statement.
  • Even though I’ve had almost 30 years of experience, the resume is still just two pages. I didn’t go back more than three jobs, because that covered a period of more than 15 years. Beyond that won’t be considered relevant by most Hiring Managers.
  • Over 50% of the text is in the form of bullets. Your resume should be at least half or more in the form of bulleted statements.

Here’s the actual resume. I’ve changed the contact and employer information to be generic.


John Smith
123 Main St
Anytown, CA 98545
Home phone: (123) 456-7890 Cell: (123) 456-7890 email:


  • Reduced expense ratio by 25%, saving $11 million annually in operating expense.
  • Increased employee productivity by 56% on a unit basis and 300% on a dollar basis.
  • Managed operating budgets to within one percent of plan.

Visionary operations/business manager accomplished at strategic planning, expense analysis and control, developing and implementing process improvements to business operating systems, high level project and systems management. Excellent communication, organizational and interpersonal skills for managing to measurable, bottom-line results.PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

ABC Corporation, Anytown, CA Sep 2000 – Dec 2000 (all employees laid off Dec. 22)

Business Operations Planning Manager

Hired into new position of Business Operations Planning Manager for this Internet provider of secure online payments. Charged with developing an operations analyst staff and bringing order and structure to vaguely defined operations activities. Responsibilities included policy and procedure review and development, expense analysis and control, budget development, management reporting, workflow analysis and design, project management, internal and external systems support and development, creation and management of disaster recovery plans.

  • Created simplified system flowcharts for the major transactions, which were subsequently used as training tools throughout the company.
  • Performed first-ever detailed expense analysis, which became the baseline for the operating budget.
  • Developed the Powerpoint presentation used by Group President to present his business review plan to senior management. Reception was so favorable it was added to my responsibilities.
  • Organized and created a comprehensive index of Policies & Procedure manuals, giving other departments user-friendly access for the first time.
  • Created a New Merchant Implementation Checklist, which streamlined and organized the complex implementation process.

XYZ Company, Inc., Anytown, CA 1991 –2000Director of Operations

Selected by President to create the Operations Department and design an automation strategy for this fast-growing, $1.5 billion commercial lending subsidiary of XYZ Corp. Directed the staffing, planning, budgeting, system design and ongoing support. Diverse range of responsibilities included workflow and procedure analysis and redesign, computer equipment ordering and inventory management, expense analysis and control, account set-up and handling, payment receipt and application, workflow and systems support for processing and financial systems to eight division and 24 branch offices throughout the country. Managed a staff of 16 and directed the work of our seven person programming unit.

John Smith – Page 2

  • Initiated expense monitoring and efficiency improvements, which decreased the operating expense ratio every year for eight years, for a total 25″% reduction and $11 million in annual savings.
  • Created the strategic vision for a PC-based client/server systems architecture, which guided automation efforts the last five years. Employee productivity doubled during this period and personnel expense declined from 62% of total operating expense to 46%.
  • Managed a $9 million operating budget over eight years, at a combined total of 99% to plan.
  • Implemented automated system and workflow enhancements to improve productivity in the account handling group, which kept staffing level flat for seven years while items handled increased 121%.
  • Implemented “lockbox” processing for payments, which eliminated the manual input of 13,000 payments per month and reduced the payment application error ratio by 40%.

Acme Corporation, Inc., Seattle, WA 1987 – 1991Operations Manager, Commercial Lines Operations

Responsible for the planning, development and implementation of the procedures, workflows, and automated systems used to process commercial business insurance policies. Also had responsibility for development and support of the accounting and financial systems and procedures used to bill, collect and report $500 million of commercial business.

  • Developed the primary mainframe processing system and redesigned workflows, saving $1.2 million in annual expense.
  • Developed the mainframe system that automated the farm program, reducing field processing staff by 32 people.
  • Created a Home Office Accounting Unit and developed three automated accounting systems. These improved the billing and collection of commercial premiums, reduced overdues from 18% to 9% and decreased field accounting staff by 10%.
  • Managed system development costs to 100.2% of plan.


Windows XP, 2000, and 98, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Visio, Outlook, Lotus 123, Wordperfect, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Project 98, HTML and web site design concepts.


Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Cum Laude, California University at Long Beach, Long Beach , CA


Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU); PMI Certified