Types of CV’s

Sample CV Profiles

There are three main types of CV that you can use to market yourself, your skills and qualities, and your experience to a prospective employer. Before you decide which one to use, read the detailed description for each below and see which one best suits your circumstances.

Chronological CV-A chronological CV is the most frequently used CV format and is usually two sides in length (A4). The reason most employers prefer this type of CV is because it is easy to see who you have worked for and what you did in each particular job. Chronological CV’s commonly list your details under appropriate headings in reverse chronological order. A complete record of your work history is included along with a complete record of your education and qualifications with the most recent detailed first and working backwards.

Chronological CV’s are particularly useful if you are planning to stay within the same industry, to show career progression and if you do not have many achievements. They are also suitable when you have had continuous employment with no gaps. If you do have gaps, then mention them and give an appropriate reason for them, such as bringing up a family or travelling.

You should include

  • Personal details (name, address, telephone number, email address).
  • Personal profile containing a short paragraph highlighting your key skills or career aim (optional).
  • Education and qualifications, degree subject, class (attained or expected), modules studied, summarised A levels, GCSE/O levels/CSEs, with dates and grades.
  • Paid or unpaid work experience, even if it’s not related to the job that you are applying for. Include dates, length of service and location.
  • Include responsibilities, achievements and skills developed in these various roles you have worked in.
  • Hobbies and interests, current interests would be more appropriate rather than ones that you had a long time ago.
  • Key skills and achievements, such as languages and IT.

Sample profiles

The layout of your CV will depend on which information is most relevant. Some people tend to include their key skills and achievements before the education/work history section. Others prefer to include it immediately after the education/history section. The decision lies with the individual and what they want to achieve from their CV.

Advantages

  • Very useful if you are applying for jobs in the same industry and want to show career progression.
  • Your job titles and the companies that you have previously worked for are clearly shown. This is of course if you want them to see it.
  • If you do not have many achievements throughout your work history, taking a job by job approach saves you from having a separate “Achievements” section which may not look very impressive.

Disadvantages

  • If you have gaps in your employment history due to poor health, unemployment, having children, travelling etc., they would be clearly visible and obvious to potential employers.
  • Frequent job changes will also be clear for the employer to see and this might work against you.
  • Frequent job changes will also be clear for the employer to see and this might work against you.

Skill based CV–The main focus of a skill based CV is to relate your skills and abilities to a specific job or career area by illustrating these skills and achievements to the employer. Unlike chronological CV’s, the emphasis is shifted away from your employment history which becomes secondary. In such cases employment history is kept short and just shows the company, dates you worked and the job role.

Skill based CV’s are useful if you want to change career direction or move into a different job because it allows you to demonstrate your transferable skills rather than your career history. With this type of CV, skills and achievements are listed under appropriate skills headings such as “Communication” or “Customer Service Skills”.

Skills can also be grouped under various career-specific or industry-specific headings. For example, if you are in HR you could group your skills under HR headings such as Recruitment, Training & Development, Performance Appraisal, and Employee Welfare. If you wanted to change from HR to say Project Manager you would perhaps use different skill headings such as ‘Project Management’, ‘People Management’ and ‘Budget Management’.

Once you have your skill headings you can give details about where you learned the skill and how it benefited you and your previous employer. Within your skill headings you can also include one or two relevant achievements to show the results you obtained from implementing your skills. This is a good way to market your skills to a potential employer because not only will they be able to see the skills you have to offer but how you implemented these skills to achieve positive outcomes.

Example of skill headings

You should include

  • Personal details (name, address, telephone number, email address).
  • Career objective/Personal Profile.
  • Education & Qualifications including degree subject (class obtained or expected) A levels, GCSE/O levels, CSE’s – with dates and grades.
  • Skill headings with key or transferable skills – identify the key skills required for the job and use these headings in your CV. List one or two achievements under skill headings to show what you achieved by putting your skills into practice.
  • A short summary of your work experience including company name, date and location.
  • Hobbies and Interests (keep it short and to the point and include any interests that are relevant to the job).

Advantages

  • If you have changed jobs frequently or if you’ve had a mixture of different jobs that are unrelated to the post that you are applying for.
  • Your referees (can include two named, one academic and one employment – or ‘available on request’). If you include named referees make sure you ask their permission first.
  • If your work history has been patchy in recent years due to ill health, bringing up children, redundancy, unemployment or self employment.
  • If you are changing career direction, a skill based CV will help the employer to focus on your transferable skills.
  • If you’re a mature candidate, a skill based CV will take the focus away from your age.
  • If you want to emphasise skills and achievements that have not been used in your most recent job(s).

Disadvantages

  • This is a difficult style to adopt. Hard evidence is required to make the skills sound meaningful.
  • Skilled based CV’s will not allow you to show consistent career progression. If you want to convey career progression, you would have to do a chronological CV.
  • A skill based CV may require you to make significant changes every time you apply for a job.

Combined CV- the combination CV as it suggests is a mixture of the chronological and skill based CV, which is why it’s slightly longer than normal. Combination CV’s are often used when you want to highlight both skills and achievements together with your work history and education. With a Combination CV, your skills and achievements are listed first and these are then reinforced by your work and education. What you’re left with then is a powerful and impressive document that will hopefully have employers queuing up to hire you.

Advantages

  • Good format if you have a strong career history with lots of achievements.
  • Allows you to sell your strengths as well as your experience in one impressive document.

Disadvantages

  • Sometimes can be quite long and repetitive.
  • If the profile or career summary fails to catch the employers attention at the beginning, they might decide not to read the rest of the CV.
  • This format is not suitable for those people who have little or no experience/achievements.
  • May not be the best CV format for people with huge gaps in their employment.

Whichever type of CV you decide to use, remember to present your information in a clear, concise and easy to read manner. Your CV is your passport to success, so make sure that the information within it sells your skills, attributes and experience in such a way that the employer will find it impossible to ignore.