Choosing the right format for your CV or resume is crucial if you want to present yourself in the best possible light. The best way to set out your CV depends on both your past experience and your next move.
Most of you will be familiar with the traditional chronological CV, which gives your work history in reverse chronological order, starting with your present or most recent job.
Your educational experiences are also listed in the same way.
This CV is a good choice if you have what is sometimes referred to as a “solid track record”, usually in the same industry and possibly the same company, often working your way up the career ladder.
If you are considering using a chronological CV, it is essential that you have no obvious or unexplained gaps in your work history, as they will stand out.
Another reason for using this type of CV is to showcase prestigious companies that you have worked for recently. So if your last few employers are likely to impress prospective bosses, you might use this format.
A functional or skills-based resume focuses on job-related skills and should emphasis those which are most important in the job you are applying for.
This type of CV is useful if you have gaps, are changing career or just starting out in the workplace and have not yet accumulated much work experience. You can focus on transferable skills which you have gained in any area of your life, for example, as a parent, as a student or when doing voluntary work or playing in a team. Just because you haven’t got much work experience doesn’t mean that you can’t do the job and a functional CV will enable you to prove this. So called soft skills, such as communication skills are amongst the most important, with many big employers saying that they are lacking amongst the workforce. So if you are able to get on well with people, express yourself competently both orally and in writing, you have valuable skills, even if you have never worked before.
A targeted resume is similar to the functional type, but tends to focus on more specialized skills and so is likely to be used when you are highly skilled in a particular field.
Choosing the right format could mean that your resume does not get filed in the bin during the first screening.