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How to write the perfect CV Part 1: Formats


You put a lot of effort in writing your CV but you still haven’t been noticed and you are wondering what you are doing wrong? We have all been there no matter how much experience we have, wondering how to structure our experience in an effective way.

In the past, an academic figure told me that employers, especially the ones of big companies, don’t pass hours reading candidates' CVs but that they only quick read through them. That made me think that also if I had a good CV, nobody would have noticed it because of a missing clear structure. 

That was the moment when I realised that based on the job I was applying for, I needed an effective format to show my relevant skills. Here below there is a list of four CV formats that I found useful when applying for jobs:

Chronological Format:

The chronological format is the most used type of CV but it’s not always effective as previously thought. It is effective if your qualifications and/or experience are related to the role, but may not be so effective if your background is less relevant. 

This type of CV lists your experience and education in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent and going backwards. These CVs can be a double-edged sword for people with little experience but they still remain the employers’ favourites.

Skills-based Format:

This type of CV focuses on the skills required by the employer. This is a useful style if you are changing career path and you want to show your transferable skills from different jobs and experiences. If using a skills-based format CV, you need to really focus  on what the employer is looking for and provide evidence of your skills through examples.

Academic Format:

This type of CV is only suitable for academic jobs such as a lectureship position. This format is structured around three main areas: your research, teaching and administrative experience. Length is less important for academic CVs as they can be longer than two pages and they can include conferences attended and publications.

Combination of Chronological and Skills-based Formats:

Using a combination of chronological and skills-based formats can be useful when you have very relevant qualifications that follow a chronological order. When writing this type of CV, what’s important is to have an effective structure in mind to maintain the CV clear. 

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