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CV formatting and templates

You can adapt the format of your CV to fit the type of job you’re applying for, the type of work you do and your career profile, or to change its emphasis if you’re moving into a different industry.

Below is some information about different CV formats, some tips on what to consider when updating your CV and some templates you can use to get you started.


Click on the buttons below for advice and templates to use.

Formatting tips

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Tips for Formatting your CV

An employer may only have a short amount of time to read your CV so it’s important to make it as easy as possible to read.

Consider the following when constructing or updating you CV to help you optimise it

  • Use a simple design with clear headings, and avoid things like multi-coloured text or different font sizes, italics, underlining, shading, graphics etc
  • Use an easy-to-read font like Verdana, Arial, Calibri or Times
  • Be concise - keep it to 1-2 pages ideally and avoid including photos or a title page (unless you are required to) as they both take up valuable space
  • Include lots of white space and break up your text as much as possible using subheadings and bullet points
  • Include your name when saving your CV as a digital file – so it is easily identified
  • Use keywords from the job advert in your CV and link your experience directly to the job’s requirements
  • Check thoroughly for spelling and grammatical errors - be aware that if you’re tweaking or updating your CV, typos, spelling mistakes and formatting issues can creep in without you realising. We recommend re-reading it (out loud is even more helpful) each time you make an amendment
  • Finally – optimize your CV for online. You can add hyperlinks to business names, to link directly to the website of each of your previous employers and your social media accounts etc.
 

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Different Formats

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Different types of CV formats

You can adapt the format of your CV to fit the type of job you’re applying for, the type of work you do and your career profile, or to change its emphasis if you’re moving into a different industry.

Here are the two main types of CV format most people use:

 

Chronological

This format is the most common and is best used when you’re applying for a job in a similar industry to your current one.

It lists your experience in chronological order, with your current or most recent job at the top.

You should allow more space and detail to your more recent roles and your most important achievements.

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Skills-based

This format can be useful when you are changing to a different industry or career path.

It’s useful when you want to emphasise your transferable skills and abilities, rather than your career history.

List your achievements and key competencies ahead of your work history, and collect the best example situations from all your previous roles to illustrate your relevant skills for the specific job you’re applying for.

 

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CV Templates

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Writing a CV can be harder than it looks – so to help you with basic formatting and structure, we have developed some example templates you can use to suit different needs.

Reverse chronological CV template

The reverse chronological CV is the most common and traditional type. In this format, you list your relevant work experience in reverse chronological order, beginning with your most recent position and proceeding backwards.

For each job, you provide dates, location and the name of your employer, and succinctly outline your key responsibilities and achievements. The advantage of using the reverse chronological format is that it helps to highlight your upward career progression and continuous work history.

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Functional CV template

Alternatively, those who have had gaps in their employment, who are changing careers or who have a long work history may wish to consider using a functional CV template format to better outline their most relevant skills and experience.

A functional format emphasises your skills and abilities, or ‘functional areas’, rather than chronological employment history and is especially useful when you are changing your career focus, when you are returning to work after a break, or when you want to highlight your skills and achievements from older jobs or from volunteer or extracurricular experience. The functional resume is all about relevance, enabling you to focus on what is most important for a particular position, so it should be tailored for each job application.

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One-page career summary template

Another resume layout option is to prepare a one-page career summary – a shorter, more targeted version of your resume that can be a very effective way of immediately grabbing a hiring manager’s attention. Providing a snapshot of your key achievements, strengths, competencies, experience and qualifications, it is particularly relevant for senior executives with many accomplishments and years of professional experience.

A one-page career summary can act as a useful marketing tool that can stand alone or can accompany a full resume providing more detailed information.

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To get started, choose your reverse chronological CV template, functional CV template or one-page career summary template.

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Find out more about how to write a CV, or CV tips by following the links.

How to write a CV CV tips

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