My account

CV Format: Best Curriculum Vitae Formatting Tips

Download the latest CV format in Word. Learn how to format a CV in Word & choose the best CV format for your needs. BONUS: 10 Expert Formatting Tips for Your CV.

Maciej Duszyński
Career Expert
CV Format: Best Curriculum Vitae Formatting Tips

A standard CV format is made of the following sections:

  • personal details
  • personal profile (a summary or objective)
  • work history
  • education section
  • skills
  • languages
  • extra sections such as awards or certificates
  • hobbies and interests (optional)
  • references (outdated practice)


Those sections, though, can be listed in a different order depending on your work experience and career objective. There are three basic CV formats to choose from:

  • The reverse-chronological CV format
  • The functional CV format
  • The combination CV format


When to use which? See below.


Save hours of work and get a CV like this. Pick a template, fill it in. Quick and easy. Choose from 18+ CV templates and download your CV now.


sample cv templates


Create your CV now


What users say about Resumelab:

I had an interview yesterday and the first thing they said on the phone was: “Wow! I love your CV.”

I love the variety of templates. Good job guys, keep up the good work!

My previous CV was really weak and I used to spend hours adjusting it in Word. Now, I can introduce any changes within minutes. Absolutely wonderful!

Create your CV now


Expert Hint: When should you use a resume, and when is it better to use a curriculum vitae? It depends. CV and resume actually have a different meaning across languages. Read about the difference between a resume and a CV.

How to Choose the Best CV Format?


Choosing the best CV format depends on your professional situation. Start with asking yourself these three questions:


Decide which format of CV best suits your needs:





Career changer

Employment Gaps









Reverse-Chronological CV Format—Overview



The reverse chronological CV format is the most popular and universal. It’s suitable for those who’d like to highlight their relevant work experience and education on a resume. Your latest job is the first one to be listed.


Yet, this format for CV exposes all career gaps. So, it might not be suitable for you if you’ve had some, and would rather the recruiter didn’t pay attention to them. It’s also not the best for career changers as its primary focus is on the relevant job experience.


Sample Reverse-Chronological CV Format Template



Functional CV Format—Overview


  • Focuses on your transferable resume skills
  • Helps you hide employment gaps
  • Good for creatives, career changers, and military transitioners


The functional CV format is the go-to format of CV for those who’d like to bring their skills to the fore. Also, it detracts the recruiter’s attention from your work history, which is especially useful if you want to blur out gaps in employment.


That being said, the recruiters know that a candidate chooses the functional resume to hide something. So, use this curriculum vitae format only if you have a good reason not to choose any other. Plus, making the functional CV format is quite laborious and time-consuming as you need to come up with a perfect skill set for a particular job. And it’s the only CV format that the ATS may have a hard time parsing.


Sample Functional CV Format Template


  • Personal information / contact details
  • Professional title
  • Objective statement
  • Skills summary
  • Additional skills section
  • Professional experience
  • Education


Combination CV Format—Overview


  • Focuses on your relevant skills
  • Presents your work history in the reverse-chronological order
  • Great for career changers and seasoned pros alike


The combination CV format is ideal for career changers and experienced professionals. It brings together the best elements of the functional CV format (i.e. focus on transferable skills), and the reverse-chronological CV format (i.e. focus on experience and achievements).


On the downside, this curriculum vitae format isn’t suitable for everybody. To make the most of it, you have to be either a highly experienced specialist in your field or a career changer with a strong skill set. Plus, just like the least advisable functional CV format, this one takes a lot of time to prepare as you need to think of how to best link your skills to your professional experience.


Sample Combination CV Format Template


  • Personal information / contact details
  • Skills summary
  • Additional skills section
  • Professional experience
  • Education


The ResumeLab builder is more than looks. Get specific content to boost your chances of getting the job. Add job descriptions, bullet points, and skills. Easy. Improve your resume in our CV builder now.


create your CV now




Nail it all with a splash of color, choose a clean font, highlight your skills in just a few clicks. You’re the perfect candidate and we’ll prove it. Use the ResumeLab builder now.


Simple CV Format—Example




A CV format for a job may consist of the following sections:


Contact Details


  • Name
  • Mobile number
  • Email address


Objective or Summary


A short introductory paragraph that says:

  • Who you are.
  • How much experience you have.
  • What you can offer.
  • Your biggest achievement(s).




  • Your latest employer
  • Start and finish dates
  • List of responsibilities and key achievements




  • Your latest school
  • Graduation date
  • Degree
  • Relevant coursework


Key Skills


  • List of relevant soft and hard skills


Additional Sections


A standard CV format doesn’t have to be very complex. However, an employer or the nature of the job you’re applying for may require you to include more details (i.e. add extra resume sections) in your CV. Consider the following sections when preparing an academic CV format, CV format for freshers, or internship CV format:


Contact Details and Personal Information


  • Postal address
  • Date and place of birth
  • Citizenship
  • Gender
  • Marital Status




  • Academic positions
  • Research
  • Training




  • Academic positions
  • Post-doctoral training
  • Research
  • Majors
  • Minors
  • High school


Technical Skills


  • List of your technical skills.


Honors and Awards


  • List of your honors and awards in the reverse-chronological order.




  • List of your publications in the reverse-chronological order.


Membership in Professional Associations


  • List of your membership in professional organizations.


Hobbies and Interests


  • List of your interests and hobbies to show you’re a cultural fit.


CV Format Download


Our professional CV format example (check out all MS Word resume templates and resume templates for Google Docs) has been created with the reverse-chronological CV format in mind.


It works great as a CV format for the experienced and freshers alike. You can add, remove, rename, or rearrange its sections to your liking. Download our CV format and use it to prepare your:

  • Professional CV format
  • Academic CV format
  • European CV format
  • American CV format


Plus, turn it into a functional or combination CV format with a simple change of headings. You can also export your CV format to PDF using the standard MS Word save as function.


CV Format—Download




Expert Hint: Do I need a cover letter? Our recent survey shows that you do. About 83% of recruiters find cover letters important whan making hiring decisions.


Double your impact with a matching CV and cover letter combo. Use our cover letter builder and make your application documents pop out.


create your cover letter now




Want to try a different look? There’s 18 more. A single click will give your document a total makeover. Pick a cover letter template here.


CV Writing—Format and Tips


How to Format a CV—10 Expert Formatting Tips for Your CV


  • Choose simple and readable CV fonts. It’s not just a matter of aesthetics but readability—both for the ATS and the recruiter.
  • Make sure your fonts aren’t microscopic or gargantuan. The safe margin is between 10 and 14pt. Make them larger for headings.
  • Use the same font in your entire resume, and keep the CV formatting uniform throughout. If you choose to make a heading bold, keep all your headings bold. If you italicize a company name in the experience section, italicize all of them. And so on, and so forth.
  • Set page margins to around 1 inch. This way you can be sure everything stays within most printers’ margins.
  • Double-check if the spell check is on. Run your resume through apps such as Grammarly to be 200% sure it’s free from typos and bad grammar.
  • List your responsibilities and achievements as bullet points, don’t write full paragraphs. Bullets are much easier to read. And write.
  • Embrace white space. Cramming too much information not only looks bad but shows you aren’t selective and lack critical thinking skills.
  • Stick to a single page unless you have lots of experience. The rule of thumb for a perfect CV length is 10 years of experience for a single page.
  • Use this five-step formula to nail your CV objective or summary:
    • An adjective describing your strong trait
    • Job title
    • Years of experience
    • What you can offer and how it will help
    • Your biggest achievement
  • If you don’t know how to come up with achievements in your CV experience section, use this formula:
    • Responsibility + Number = Achievement
  • Finally, make sure you check out our guide on how to write a cv and check out one of our curriculum vitae examples.
Rate my article: format
Thank you for voting
Average: 5 (15 votes)
Maciej Duszyński
Maciej Duszynski is a career advice writer and a resume expert at ResumeLab. With over 8 years of experience in recruitment, hiring, and training, Maciej shares insider HR knowledge to equip every job seeker with professional advice to nail the job hunt. His insights have been featured by the Chicago Tribune, SparkPeople, Toggl, Referral Rock, and Databox, among others. Maciej has helped job candidates at all stages of their career paths, from interns to directors to C-suite members, to thrive in their job. His mission is to help you find the right opportunity and create a job application that gets you the career you deserve. Maciej holds a Master’s degree in English with a specialization in communication and education management.

Was it interesting? Here are similar articles