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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:
How much experience do you have?
Are you planning to pursue your current career path?
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.
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
Additional skills section
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
Additional skills section
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 CV in our CV builder now.
Nail it all with a splash of colour, 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:
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
List of relevant soft and hard skills
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
Date and place of birth
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.
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
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:
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.
A CV job description is a CV section where you list your professional experience, usually in reverse-chronological order. It means you start with your most recent position and proceed backwards. Each entry should contain 3-6 bullet points. It is recommended to include 10-15 years of work history on your CV.