Office Timeline – free timeline maker
Office Timeline – free timeline maker

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What is a timeline resume? [with examples]

Highlight your skills and work experience with an eye-catching CV using this PowerPoint timeline resume template.

Dec 3, 2021

8 min read

What is a timeline resume

Your resume – sooner or later, you definitely need to create one. Depending on your job search goals and how you want to promote yourself, there are various options you can try out when showcasing your work experience, skills, and key achievements – from the classic text-based CV to the attention-grabbing creative resume templates or even the more professional-looking timeline resume.

In a nutshell, the timeline resume provides a quick and clear overview of your professional journey using a timeline format. Compared to the traditional resume, this format is much easier to skim through and understand by recruiters than a monotonous block of rows after rows of text that will have them strain their eyes and lose focus.

In this article, we break down the main differences between the classic resume and the timeline resume, the pros and cons of using a timeline-based CV, and how you can create one using a simple resume builder like the familiar PowerPoint software. And because we want to help you out on your job hunting process, we’ve also included two resume examples and PowerPoint timeline templates that you can quickly customize with our user-friendly timeline maker.

Classic resume vs. timeline resume: What’s the difference?

Choosing the right resume format can sometimes make the difference between being called for an interview after standing out as a potential job candidate and getting screened out in the early selection phase. Before you make your final decision, we recommend you take a look at the key differences between the classic and the timeline resume.

Classic resume

  • Loved by robots but not so much by people, the classic CV format is defined by visual simplicity and features detailed candidate information grouped into individual sections.
  • Since many corporations use applicant tracking software (ATS) to filter resumes before recruiters go through them, classic resumes are often considered a safer option than visual formats.
  • However, when they do get read by a human, they’re far from hitting the easy-to-read mark.

Timeline resume

  • This kind of resume uses simple yet powerful visuals to present your work history and qualifications in a highly readable format.
  • Despite taking up more real estate on your resume than plain written text, a timeline is a great option if you want to stand out among other applicants and add a modern touch to your CV.
  • Last but not least, a timeline resume can be a great fit for job applicants targeting creative positions in marketing, design, or communications.

Unsure which one is preferred by the company you’re planning to apply to? You can choose to send both versions as their formats are complementary — the one-page timeline CV will serve as a visual summary of the more text-oriented resume.

Pros and cons of a timeline resume

Since the hiring process differs across companies and industries, there might be situations when a timeline resume could win you that golden ticket to an interview and other times when it might fail to do so.

To help you understand when it’s best to use a timeline resume, we’ve put together a quick list of pros and cons.


  • Summarizes candidate information to the essential and turns it into straightforward graphics;
  • Helps you create skimmable one-page resumes with the help of swimlanes;
  • Showcases your visual design skills when applying for jobs in creative industries.


  • Might fail to meet standard format expectations within traditional companies and industries — the classic resume has a solid footing in these areas;
  • Doesn’t leave enough room to go into details about your employment record — you can, however, expand on your career path specifics during the interview;
  • Could show gaps in your resume more clearly than other formats — while old-school recruiters have an issue with unaccounted for gaps within your resume, modern-day recruiters prioritize overall experience and transferable skills.

How to create a timeline resume with a resume builder

There are two ways to go about this: the hard way, that is, manually creating graphic elements such as objects and shapes, or the easy approach, where you can use the Office Timeline add-in for PowerPoint to generate a timeline automatically.

With an accessible resume builder like PowerPoint, putting together a timeline resume is pretty straightforward.

Start by making the timeline — create a swimlane for your educational background to include periods of study and relevant degrees and another swimlane for your work history to display previous and current roles. Also, we suggest you use the timeband to highlight key milestones (e.g. awards, accomplishments) that can recommend you for the position you’re applying for.

After you’re done with the timeline, the next step is to add information such as contact, skills, accomplishments, hobbies, and languages spoken around the timeline. Check out these two timeline resume examples we have prepared for you to see PowerPoint’s superpowers in action.

Timeline resume design - light background

Timeline resume design - light mode

Timeline resume design - dark background

Timeline resume design - dark mode

Timeline resume design - portrait layout

Bonus: You can easily save the timeline as an image (PNG with transparency) and import it into a regular resume to enhance readability. Here’s how our timeline resumes would look in a portrait format. You can also download these samples as a PowerPoint file and customize with your own data.

Timeline resume examples - portrait layout

Frequently Asked Questions about timeline resumes

Here’s a shortlist of questions and answers to help you decide whether the timeline resume is something that’s worth giving a try.

Boost your job hunting efforts with the Office Timeline tool

Living in the digital age where there’s much more information flowing around us at all times than ever before in human history has dramatically narrowed our attention spans. That’s why capturing people’s attention by staying concise and relevant in your message and creating a visual summary of your work is as useful in project management as it is when setting off in your job hunting journey.

We hope this timeline resume template gives you a head start and enables you to present your professional skillset and expertise in the most visually appealing way possible. To create the timelines above, we used Office Timeline, a powerful desktop add-in that helps project management professionals effortlessly design impressive roadmaps, timelines, and Gantt charts directly in PowerPoint. Download the free trial version of Office Timeline and use the PowerPoint timeline resume template to create your own resume in no time.

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