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When writing your CV, there is a number of different types you could use. We briefly outline some of these for you here, use the one which you feel is the most appropriate for your level of work experience.

Chronological order

This is the most commonly used format, which lists all employment and education. Usually this will be in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent and working backwards.

Order of information:

  1. Personal details
  2. Qualifications
  3. Training
  4. Employment
  5. Interests
  6. References.

Highlighting your skills

This format of CV abandons the traditional chronological format and instead emphasises the skills and achievements. This is useful if there are no formal qualifications, if there have been numerous jobs with no clearly defined career path, or if there have been a lot of gaps.

Order of information:

  1. Personal details
  2. Summary of qualifications
  3. Skills, knowledge, attributes, abilities
  4. Summary of employment
  5. Interests
  6. References.

A mixture of a chronological and skills based CV

This type of CV layout is becoming more popular. It combines the Chronological CV and the Functional CV by retaining the fixed order of the Chronological CV, but also emphasising skills and achievements.

Order of information:

  1. Personal details
  2. Summary of qualifications
  3. Skills, knowledge, attributes, abilities
  4. Employment history
  5. Professional development
  6. Interests
  7. References.

Things to consider when writing a CV

  • On first sight, does it pass the ‘30 second test’?
  • What is your first impression of the document, good or bad?
  • Does it make you want to read the whole thing?
  • Does it look attractive?
  • Is it neat and well laid out?
  • Is it user friendly and look easy to read?
  • What is the overall length of the document?

Things that can be off-putting:

  • Too much text on the page (looks busy)
  • Too much information crammed in (no empty space)
  • Lines too close together (bad planning)
  • Small typeface (too hard to read)
  • Large typeface (childish)
  • Text too close to the edge of the page (non-existent margins)
  • Pages stapled/clipped together (a hindrance)
  • Bad print quality (ink smudged/faded)
  • Poor quality paper (too thin/crinkled/torn/folded).
  • Too many pages with too much information?
  • Too many pages with information too spaced out?
  • Too few pages with information crammed in?

Order of information

  • If a university leaver, is that given prominence and listed first?
  • If work experience is the most recent/main selling point, is it listed before education?

About the Author

  • Name: IP Careers
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