Previously published in the online ‘Brite Future’ magazine: September 2016.
Once upon a time writing a CV was simple – you put your information down, sent it off, and that was that. Now, however, there’s not only more information that you need to include, but also a variety of different types of CV that could really help you, depending on what job you are going for. Here are some examples that you might want to consider when completing job applications.
Really great if you have more work experience than you do qualifications and achievements.
A chronological CV is written in reverse-chronological order, and focuses mainly on your employment history. It includes every job you’ve been in, your education, your interests, and a personal statement at the start that summarises your skills and qualities.
This type of CV is career-focused, and so really great if you have more work experience than you do qualifications and achievements. It contains all the information needed for a typical job application, and is both simple to write and easy to read.
However, it doesn’t highlight your transferable skills, so is not always the best option for moving to a different industry. If you don’t have much work experience then this might also not be a good choice, as gaps and missing information will look a lot more noticeable.
This CV format is the complete opposite to the chronological CV – instead of showing your chronological employment, it focuses more on your skills and achievements. Instead of the typical headings, it will use headings that explore your skills and expertise.
Skills-based CVs can be really good if you’re changing careers as they focus so much on skills. They’re good at masking issues such as employment gaps and personal information, and can also be used alongside a chronological CV for senior positions.
They are not so good if you want to show progression within your career, or if you haven’t broadened your career horizons particularly – information could end up lacking somewhat. The format is also less common, so employers might not be so familiar with it.
Targeted CVs are really good when you have specific information that you need to get across to an employer.
A targeted CV is another version of a skills-based CV that is targeted towards a specific type of job. It has a different layout, however; instead of the skills-based headings it follows a similar format to the chronological CV. Less detail is included though, and an additional section titled ‘Abilities’ or ‘Key Skills’ is featured between the ‘Personal Profile’ and ‘Key Achievements’ section.
Targeted CVs are really good when you have specific information that you need to get across to an employer, such as a particular skill or expertise. They are also great at showing how far you’ve come within a particular sector, and how much time and effort you have put into it.
However, it is not recommended to use targeted CVs when going for broader roles – they can prevent you from looking well-rounded and instead making you seem like a very niche employee who may not be able to cope with all aspects of a job.
The combined CV is a CV style that is relevant for many different circumstances. As with the chronological CV, everything is still in reverse-chronological order, but also includes skills and achievements. The length should be no more than 2 pages, and is basically a combination of the chronological CV and the skills-based CV.
What’s great about the combined CV is that it shows off both your work experience and your skills and qualities, and gives a detailed range of information to the employer. It has a familiar structure and is also very easy to read.
However, the reverse-chronological order can easily highlight gaps in employment, and may be seen as too long by some employers. It also takes longer to write than some of the other versions (although this shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing!)
This is definitely a good CV type to use if you have a lot of extensive academic achievements.
This type of CV is specifically for graduates, but can also be used by any sort of student who has a lot of education to focus on. The education comes before the ‘Career Summary’ section here, and the ‘Personal Profile’ section focuses on skills from both work and education.
This is definitely a good CV type to use if you have a lot of extensive academic achievements, or you haven’t gained much work experience as off yet. It is still able to show your transferable skills from your education.
A graduate CV wouldn’t be an appropriate style to use if you haven’t received a lot of education or it was a very long time ago. Remember that the main focus will be on transferable skills, and it may overshadow your work experience.
An infographic CV is primarily visual – it uses colours, pictures, and graphs to get the main points across.
An infographic CV is primarily visual – it uses colours, pictures, and graphs to get the main points across. Infographic CVs are quite a recent thing and, like alternative CVs, should generally only be used when applying for heavily creative roles, or higher-up roles within marketing. However, there’s no harm in making one to add to your LinkedIn profile as a more visual way to showcase your talents.
As infographic CVs are so visual, they are immediately eye-catching, and allow the employer to access key information about you with ease. They also give you a chance to showcase your artistic talents alongside everything else.
However, they are quite difficult to design and make, and so will require good creative skills. As they are still not a particularly well-known method, they aren’t suitable for most job roles, and may confuse or put off some employers.