What is the Best CV Format to Use?

If you want to make a great first impression on your prospective employer then you have to nail your CV. Remember, there is plenty of competition out there and you have to stand out from the crowd if you want to be successful in your job search. So, how can you make sure that your CV packs a punch?

Firstly, you should be aware of the most recent and best CV writing practices. Your CV will only be effective if it really speaks to the reader and quickly shows potential employers what they need to see. The key to making your CV easy to read is all in the formatting. Choosing the best CV format for you will help to present your skills and strengths in an effective way.

Let’s take a look at some of the best CV formats that you may want to use.

1. Chronological CV

The chronological CV is a format that employers favour as it presents your experience and qualifications in a way that is organised and easy to digest. When using this format, you should always begin with your most recent role/work experience and work backwards from there. This is effective as in most instances your most recent experience will also be the most relevant work experience to the role you are applying for.

We strongly recommend using this format for your CV and you can download our chronological CV template here.

2. Skills-Based CV

This type of CV focuses more on your abilities and achievements that on your actual work experience. It can be an effective format if you are completely changing careers, applying for your first job or if you have a lot of gaps in your employment history.

If you want to use this format, you simply have to replace your work experience section with a skills section. List the skill you have has a sub-heading and then underneath you should use a couple of bullet points to talk about examples of when you have used this skill.

3. Chronological/Skills Hybrid CV

If you want to show off your work experience but also draw attention to the skills you have you can combine the two formats above. This type of CV will grab the employer’s attention and will highlight what you can offer them in terms of both skills and experience.

For this CV format, your experience and qualifications should be listed in reverse chronological order but then also include a separate skills section where you can bullet-point key skills and knowledge you have. Try to avoid listing generic skills such as teamwork and communication. Instead, you should highlight specific skills and expertise that are relevant to the role you are applying to. For example, if you are applying for a digital marketing role you may list social media, SEO, Google AdWords, etc.

4. LinkedIn CV

So it’s great to have your CV document to send to employers, but your LinkedIn profile can also act as an extremely valuable CV. You can use LinkedIn as an online tool to connect with fellow professionals and employers/hiring managers. If your profile is complete and up-to-date you may find that employers approach you about relevant opportunities that they already think you are a good fit for.

More CV formatting tips…

Always start with a personal statement

Most CVs start by listing personal details (name, email, address, phone number) and then move onto an opening personal statement. Including a personal statement is very important as, if done well, it should instantly show hiring managers that you are the right person for the job and the rest of your CV simply confirms it.

Use a professional looking font

Deciding what is the best font for your CV is simple. Your CV font should be easy to read (on-screen and when printed) and it should be a standard font that will work on any computer. Some of the fonts that we recommend include:

  • Tahoma
  • Calibre
  • Helvetica
  • Verdana
  • Arial

We also recommend using a font size between 10-12.

Include interests and hobbies

Including a short section which lists your hobbies and interests toward the end of your CV is a great way to inject a bit of personality. Your hobbies may also suggest certain qualities and traits that would fit in well with the role you are applying to. For example, being part of your local football team suggests that you are competitive which would be great for a sales role.

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