Choosing the right CV format

Choosing the right CV format
Choosing the right CV format

posted 01 Jan 24

The format you choose serves as a frame for your career story, emphasizing the aspects of your professional life that are most compelling and relevant to the job you're aiming for. A well-structured CV can draw the recruiter's attention to your most impressive achievements, align your experience with the job requirements, and present a clear narrative of your career progression.  

By understanding the nuances of each format and selecting the one that best showcases your unique background, you position yourself as a distinctive and memorable candidate, boosting your chances of moving forward in the recruitment process. 

Now, let's delve into the specifics of each CV format to help you decide which one suits you best. 


Chronological CV: showcase your career progression 

A chronological CV is ideal if you: 

  • Have skills and experience matching the job you’re applying for. 
  • Possess a continuous employment history with minimal gaps. 
  • Wish to highlight your career progression. 


  1. Personal Details: Your contact information. 
  2. Profile Summary: A brief overview of your professional background. 
  3. Professional Experience: List your recent work history, focusing on achievements and responsibilities. 
  4. Education: Detail your academic background. 
  5. Awards and Achievements: Any recognitions or accomplishments. 

Ideal For - Professionals with a steady career trajectory in a specific field. 

Functional or skills-based CV: focus on your abilities 

Functional or skills-based CV: focus on your abilities 

A functional CV is great if you: 

  • Are a school leaver, university graduate, or have limited professional experience. 
  • Are transitioning to a new career and want to highlight transferable skills. 
  • Have long employment gaps.


  1. Personal Details: Your contact information. 
  2. Profile Summary: A snapshot of your skills and potential. 
  3. Skills: A detailed list of your abilities and competencies. 
  4. Professional Experience: Briefly list your work history. 
  5. Education: Your academic qualifications. 

Ideal For - Individuals starting their careers or those with diverse experiences not tied to a specific industry. 

Combination CV: blend your skills and experience 

A combination CV is suitable if you’re: 

  • In the early stages of your career (1-3 years). 
  • A graduate with limited work experience. 
  • Considering a career change. 


  1. Skills: Highlight your key competencies. 
  2. Personal Details: Your contact information. 
  3. Profile Summary: An introduction to your professional self. 
  4. Professional Experience: Your work history with an emphasis on achievements. 
  5. Education: Academic background. 
  6. Awards and Achievements: Any additional accolades. 

Ideal For - Those who want to balance showcasing their skills and experience equally. 

In conclusion, selecting the right CV format is a strategic choice that can significantly enhance your visibility to potential employers. By thoughtfully choosing a format that aligns with your career goals and the nature of the job you’re applying for, you position yourself as a standout candidate in the job market. 

Have you found this article insightful? At Search, we work with 6,000+ businesses across the UK and have uncovered what makes a great CV in today’s job market. If you are looking to stand out in your job search, contact our dedication recruitment experts today.