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Is there a “right type” of CV?

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In short – Yes. A Curriculum Vitae, or CV, is the summary of your background, achievements, experience and skills that you have to offer a prospective employer. It’s essential that you make it work for you.

Your CV is the first step in “marketing” yourself, as such your CV should not be treated as your autobiography, it’s your marketing document, promoting you – a common misconception is that CV’s need to be crammed with everything that you have ever done.

It needs to clearly set out your achievements so employers can identify quickly what you could do for them. There’s no single “perfect CV” and as such it’s a question of what works best in your industry and in your situation.

Remember, there are two basic questions that a potential employer will be asking themselves;

  • Can this person fulfil the requirements of the role?
  • Will they fit into our organisation?

Make sure when writing your CV, the format and content of your CV ensures that employers can see quickly whether you can and will.

So which “type” of CV should I use?

CVs generally fall into three basic formats;

1.       Performance or Chronological CVs

This is the format most commonly used and is relevant if you have a lot of work experience and are looking for a similar job in your current sector. It’s based on your career history or work experience.

Listing your current or most recent employment history first, outline job titles and company names, dates of employment, and describe specific responsibilities and duties, you normally provide more in-depth detail on your current and the two or three most recent positions and then simply list the rest.


2.       Skill-based CVs or Functional CVs

An ideal format if you’ve had a varied career, if you want to change direction or if your career has been broken by unemployment, ill health or self-employment.

The focus is on your knowledge, transferable skills and competencies rather than your career history or work experience. It emphasises your achievements throughout your career and groups them under headings such as “team skills”, “management” and “business development” rather than listing them job by job, with Employment details coming later on in the CV.

Identify the three or four major skill sets you possess and on the first page of your CV write five lines describing them and the achievements they have helped you accomplish, tailoring it to the relevant job advertisement, description or personal specification.


3.       Alternative CVs

They are most commonly used in creative careers such as writing, design, PR and fashion – and are often supported by a portfolio of work, however senior management roles often require these more in-depth CVs to support an application.

Choosing the type of CV to suit your career and writing that interview winning CV is one of the most important tasks you will have to undertake when job hunting, however putting in the extra time to produce an effective marketing tool will pay dividends.

Remember, often your CV is the first chance to show what you have to offer, and serves to promote your potential, so with only a short time to impress a potential employer, what will make your CV stand out? Keep watching this space for more advice on how to create your “Interview Winning” CV.

4 Responses to Is there a “right type” of CV?

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  4. Pingback: Temporary Work and Your CV | White Horse Employment

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