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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, CPRW
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  • references (outdated practise)

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.

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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!

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

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 CV. 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 CV 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 CV 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

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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 CV 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.

Honours and Awards

  • List of your honours 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 organisations.

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 CV templates and CV 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.

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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 CV, and keep the CV formatting uniform throughout. If you choose to make a heading bold, keep all your headings bold. If you italicise a company name in the experience section, italicise 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 CV 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.

About ResumeLab’s Editorial Approach

At ResumeLab, excellence lies at the heart of our values, underpinning our promise to provide outstanding career resources. Our team of career experts meticulously assesses each article in line with our editorial guidelines, guaranteeing our content's high quality and dependability. We consistently engage in original research, illuminating the nuances of the job market and earning acclaim from various influential news outlets. Our commitment to delivering professional career advice draws millions of readers to our blog annually.

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Maciej Duszyński, CPRW
Experienced in the education management industry, Maciej shares his knowledge for every step of your job hunt, from landing an internship to moving to an executive position. 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.

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