How to choose a CV structure

Did you know there’s more than one type of CV structure?

All structures showcase your skills, experience, and achievements, but in different ways.  Here I provide a summary of 4 types of CV and why you might choose them.

Reverse Chronological CV Structure

This format is for you if you’ve been following a natural career path.

This is the CV you’re probably most used to seeing or using. 

Everything is written in reverse chronological order with your most recent experience and qualifications showing first.  This CV is logical and makes it easy for recruiters to see your experience and progression. 

Functional or Skills-based CV Structure

This structure is for you if you’re changing career direction or have a career gap.  Just be aware that recruiters are often wary of this type of CV.

This format focuses the reader’s mind on what you can offer in terms of skills, abilities, and professional expertise, rather than when and in which role you acquired them.

By putting your achievements and contributions under a “Skills and Achievements” heading, you can highlight your transferable skills, and employment gaps/irrelevant experience are less obvious. 

For example, you could have managed projects in several of your roles. 

  • Put all your relevant experience and achievements under the heading of  “Project Management”. 
  • Under the “Career History” section, list each job with little to no detail underneath.

Hybrid CV Strcture

This CV structure is for most job seekers and particularly suits those just starting out, changing careers, or returning after a career break.

A functional CV isn’t favoured by all recruiters and hiring managers so a hybrid of functional and chronological works well.

The Skills section can be more informative, to include examples and achievements but not to the extent of a functional CV. You will keep a lot of that information under each role.

An advantage of a hybrid CV is all key information is on page 1.

One-page CV

This format is only suitable for certain situations.

One-page CVs are quick and easy to read, but it can be tricky deciding what to include and they lack the detail required when applying to an advertised role. 

They do have their place though e.g.,

  • your employer might ask you when tendering
  • you’re self-employed and need to show what you can offer in terms of experience and skills
  • you have limited work experience