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Current CV Styles—Find the Best One [Gallery & Tips]

What’s the best CV style—chronological, functional, combination? Maybe infographic or portfolio? Learn everything about CV styles to pick the right one for your situation.

Maciej Duszynski, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert
Current CV Styles—Find the Best One [Gallery & Tips]

Writing a CV may seem like a daunting task, especially when you haven’t done it in a while. You go online and… the number of different CV styles out there is overwhelming. Which one to choose? What is the best CV style for your situation?

That’s exactly what this article will help you find out.

In this article, you’ll see:

  • What the three classic CV styles are.
  • Which CV style is best for your needs.
  • Examples of different modern CV styles.

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1. CV Styles and Formats

There are three classic CV styles: chronological, combination, and functional. Each CV style differs from the other and works best for job seekers in different professional situations.

Let’s have a look at all of these CV styles one by one.

Chronological CV Style

MAKE YOUR CVChronological CV Style

The chronological CV style is arguably the most popular of all CV styles. Its clear structure and high readability have been appreciated by both job seekers and recruiters the world over. Plus, it’s the most parsable CV style for ATS software as well.

The chronological CV highlights your job experience (the most important hiring factor to many recruiters and managers) and presents it in a reverse-chronological manner. This way your most recently held position appears at the top of the document and the previous jobs come next.

As you can see in the example above, a typical chronological CV consists of the following CV sections:

Chronological CV Style—Sections

The chronological CV style is suitable for most candidates, including:

  • Students
  • Entry-level job seekers
  • Mid- to senior-level candidates
  • Job seekers pursuing corporate openings

In the vast majority of cases, the chronological CV style will work for those who pursue a steady career path as well as for career changers.

If you’re among the latter, read our comprehensive guide on how to write a career change CV.

Functional CV Style

MAKE YOUR CVFunctional CV Style

The functional CV style differs from chronological in several crucial respects. First off, it highlights your skills on a CV rather than experience. This is why a large portion of the CV’s real estate is taken up by a CV objective and a summary of skills.

Notice that the experience section is really kept to the absolute minimum. This is a deliberate choice that’s supposed to direct the recruiter’s attention entirely to your skills. In fact, the functional CV style often lacks dates and can help you hide career gaps on a CV.

Mind you though, studies reveal that most recruiters are primarily looking at your previous experience. So do ATS systems used by 99% of Fortune 500 companies. Why is this important? If your CV is to be assessed on the basis of the experience section, it will look pretty unimpressive if you go for a functional CV style.

So, who is this CV style suitable for? First off, for those who want to send their CVs straight to the hiring manager’s inbox thus bypassing the recruiter- and bot-scanning stages. Second of all, for candidates whose professional situation isn’t standard, including:

  • Military transitioners
  • Portfolio-based job seekers (e.g. artists)
  • Candidates who don’t want to look overqualified

You may be interested in having a look at our step-by-step guide on how to write a military to civilian CV.

Combination CV Style

MAKE YOUR CVCombination CV Style

As the name suggests, this CV style combines some elements of the other two. The space you get on a CV is evenly distributed between two main CV sections:

Qualifications summary (also referred to as skills summary) is a hybrid of a professional summary and a more traditional list of skills. The experience section on a combination CV style should focus on highlighting your professional achievements.

Also, just like all the previous CV styles, this one lets you include all sorts of additional CV sections, such as:

Expert Hint: Regardless of the CV style you choose, make sure your CV is targeted at a particular job offer. Generic CVs may seem easier to write but you may need to send hundreds of them before your phone rings.

So, who is this CV style good for? A combination CV style will work for seasoned pros targeting a specific position. It may prove quite handy and flexible for the needs of career changers. Also, people who want to conceal employment gaps may be inclined towards this CV style.

Also, your safest bet is to send this CV type straight to the recruiter’s inbox as some ATSs may have a hard time parsing it.

Comparison of Three Best CV Styles—Infographic

The infographic below will help you see the main differences between each of the three CV styles:

Best CV Styles Comparison

Remember, when choosing the style of your CV do consider your professional situation as well as the mode of delivery. Not all CV styles will be compatible with ATS solutions used by large companies.

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.

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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.

2. Modern CV Styles

It would be a huge understatement to say that the three CV styles discussed above are the only ones available out there. Thanks to increasingly advanced CV building tools and many candidates wishing to stand out from the crowd, the latest CV styles can assume a variety of forms.

Have a look at our selection of different CV style templates to see what options you have and find the style that’s right for your professional situation.

Infographic CV Style

Infographic CV styles are suitable for all kinds of creative job seekers. However, if you use them, see to it you send them directly to the recruiter or hiring manager as they’re bound to fail the initial ATS scan.

Infographic CV Style—Examples


Portfolio CV Style

Portfolio CVs are a great choice for visual artists who want to give the recruiter a quick glimpse into their best works. Obviously, they can include links to larger galleries on their CV websites, for example.

Portfolio CV StyleExamples


Expert Hint: Before you decide to use any of such unique CV styles, make sure both your professional context and the company profile warrant using them. Otherwise, you risk submitting a document that apart from not landing you a job may become a subject of office jokes. This is particularly important if you’re considering making a video CV.

Professional CV Styles

The sheer variety of current CV styles is astounding. But too much choice might cause lead to the so-called paradox of choice where you may feel overwhelmed and end up never being satisfied with what you choose.

That’s why simplicity always comes out on top. The best CV style? In a word: professional. Here’s a selection of several professional CV styles that will always work.

One-Page CV Style

USE THIS TEMPLATEone-page CV style

The advantage of using the one-page CV format style is its compact size. Recruiters spend only several seconds looking at any CV initially, so they’re quite unlikely to look at page two anyway. Plus, if you set yourself with a limit as to your document’s length you’re more likely to only pick out your professional highlights. One-page CVs are great for writing your first CV with no experience.

Two-Page CV Style

USE THIS TEMPLATEone-page CV style

As your experience grows, so will the length of your CV. A two-page CV style is fit for you if your relevant experience calls for more space to be shown in its entirety. Mind you, relevant experience. If you fill two pages with things unrelated to the position you’re pursuing your CV will land in a bin, rather than land you an interview.

Expert Hint: See to it that the style of the CV header is the same on your cover letter. This way it will be obvious that both documents are part of the same document set.

Simple CV Style

USE THIS TEMPLATEone-page CV style

Simplicity never goes out fashion. Simple CV styles are universal enough to fit into any job-seeking context. It doesn’t matter if you’re making an accounting CV, a graphic designer CV, or preparing a CV for an internship.

Expert Hint: Your CV doesn’t need fancy ornamentation to look great. It’s often enough to use good CV font styles to achieve an aesthetically pleasing effect.

Executive CV Style

USE THIS TEMPLATEone-page CV style

Experienced job seekers need professional-looking CV styles that offer enough space to encapsulate a wealth of experience in an approachable format. That’s why a two-column CV is the way to go. Such a CV layout will let you make the most of the space you get on a single page. The one we present here also includes a nice visual with your initials.

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.

Key Points

There are three main CV styles: a chronological CV, a functional CV, and a combination CV. Each of them is suitable for job seekers in different professional scenarios.

Apart from these three, there are many new CV styles candidates may consider using such as infographic CVs or portfolio CVs.

You should always base your choice of the CV style on your professional situation, experience, and the kind of company you’re applying for. For example, if you’re looking for a gig as a photographer you can experiment with a creative CV style. However, if you’re pursuing a managerial role, a more traditional and professional CV style will be your best bet.

Need more CV-related resources? Che these out:

How did you like our article on different CV styles? Do you have any helpful tips for choosing the best one? Let’s talk about it in the comments below, and, as always, thanks for reading!

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 Duszynski, 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.

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