Please submit a résumé that includes your employment history and academic record in reverse chronological order. Other information appropriate to a business resume is welcomed and encouraged (no more than 1 page in length).
We have lots to say about résumés… including all the juicy nuggets contained in this entire guide we created specifically to help you write a killer one-pager. But let’s key in on a few CHOICE words from MIT here.
Reverse chronological order is fairly standard, but the fact that they’re throwing a spotlight on it is a hint that either or both (1) some folks do it the opposite way and LEAD with earlier stuff, like college, and then whatever comes next, but maybe more interestingly (2) that the truly important stuff is the most recent few years of your life.
The dialogue in the reader’s head probably goes something like “Let me get a quick gauge about where this person is at RIGHT now, what s/he’s up to, and what s/he’s achieving TODAY. Got it, now, let me get a sense of the career ARC. Where did this person start out, what was s/he achieving at any given moment, but also, does his trajectory from one node to the next feel sluggish? Or does this person feel like a juggernaut? Is s/he just blowing out the competition left and right, or is s/he doing serviceable-level work? Where does it seem like it’s all headed?
Anyway, use reverse chronological order to offer up that initial high-level glimpse, then they can dip as far back as they need to get as much as of the story as they care to.
The other neat thing worth mentioning is this: “Other information appropriate to a business résumé is welcomed and encouraged.” On the one hand they’re talking about stuff like community service and volunteer activity, but also, they’re asking you to “unflatten” the 2D portrait of yourself with dimension in the form of skills, hobbies, interests, quirks; in other words “stuff that may be unique to you and/or interesting as hell to read about. Some folks go to this section FIRST before scanning the rest, to hunt for signs of life. Have fun here folks. Include FUN stuff. Include weird stuff. Cool talents, weird talents, weird anything. You’ll want someone to reel you in because you CAN go overboard. But take a swing. Straightforward and lifeless just puts that much more pressure on the REST of your writing to provide all the personality and color. This is an easy way to INSTANTLY stand out against a person with a similar “résumé.”