If you need to write a CV it can be hard to know where to start. Our advice would always be to create a CV that showcases your skills and experience in a way that matches the job you are applying for. In the main, there are 3 common types of CV format that most people will use to start their job search.
The most common type of CV is a chronological CV which presents your experience in reverse chronological order, on an employer by employer basis. It also contains details of your education and qualifications, along with any hobbies and interests. Usually, they include a brief personal statement at the start of the CV which outlines your key skills and strengths – your personal profile should be just that, personal to you. You can read more about creating profiles here.
A chronological CV typically follows the following structure:
Name and contact details
Personal profile and/or career objectives.
A list of employment in reverse chronological order. Under each employer, set out your key achievements and main responsibilities in bullet points.
Relevant qualifications and training
Any professional memberships
Your hobbies & interests
Most employers favour this style of CV as it gives them a good summary of your experience to date. It can however also highlight gaps in your employment, so you need to consider how best to explain the reasons for periods when you haven’t been working.
A functional CV focuses on your skills and expertise rather than the history of your employment to date. It generally begins with a personal profile which highlights your achievements, skills and personal qualities, followed by sections relating to a different skill or ability. You should order these based on importance. Instead of focusing on any particular previous role, you should describe your experience across your career. Examples of heading you could include are:
Administration, Communication, Customer Service, Planning, Leadership, Training & Development, Supervisory
Finally, the CV should give a list of employers and dates, a section on your qualifications and relevant training and another which gives your personal information and contact details.
If you have changed jobs fairly often during your career, a functional CV keeps the emphasis on what skills and ability you have to offer as a whole. It also focuses on your transferable skills which is particularly useful if you are trying to move into a new industry sector.
A combined CV uses both the chronological and functional format, which does tend to make the CV slightly longer. It’s important to be concise and use bullet points and structured paragraphs where possible to make the CV easy to read without boring the reader.
This is a good CV to use if you need to show a defined career progression as well as show your key, overall strengths. It’s not one to use if you have employment gaps or limited experience.