CV formatting: use the best layout for you

Do you ever look at your CV and wonder how it will stand out against everyone else’s? Trying to sell yourself in a condensed way on a sheet of A4 paper can sometimes feel like an impossible task, but if you take the time and effort to plan your CV style it can take away some of the worry.

There is no correct way to write a CV, your style and format depends on the type of position you are applying for and the aspects of yourself that you are looking to sell. However every CV should be clear, concise and relevant. You may want to bring across your personality in your CV and sometimes it can be beneficial but if your personal hobbies section is larger than your experience and skills you may need to rethink your strategy.

Formal CVs
A formal CV format is one of the most common and regularly used formats; however this doesn’t mean that you can’t make it your own. In this case it’s the content not the format that helps you stand out.  Formal CVs have a simple format which is easy to read and concise.  They include sections such as education, skills, and previous employment and usually begin with a heading stating the candidate’s name, email and address.

Creative CVs

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This type of CV is one of the hardest to define on the basis that its nature is to stand out and be different. Although creative CVs can often be eye catching they are not always suitable for the company you are applying for so make sure your creativity is going to be viewed appropriately. A CV in the format of a menu might not help you get that accounting position.

Also what you think is creative may not match the views of others around you so make sure to get your friends, family and objective acquaintances to look over your idea before you send it out.

However if you feel that a creative concept is right for your intended company then it can be a great way to showcase your style.

Functional CVs 
If you’re are looking to change careers or your job sector then you may want to use a functional CV. Often employers look for people who have had experience in a similar sector, but if you want to completely change your role this could work against you.

Instead by using a functional CV you can highlight your skills and experience set, rather than your career history. As an alternative to using headings such as ‘past employment’, a functional CV allows you to create sections on specific skills for your desired positions. For example if you are applying for a role in sales you could name a section on ‘customer relations’.

Academic CVs
Academic CVs are another alternative to the standard formal CV format. They focus on your academic achievements rather than your employment history, and unlike other CVs they have no formal page limit. However this doesn’t mean you should include irrelevant information, remember all CVs should be concise and to the point.

You will notice an academic CV has more sections than a formal CV as people including their professional memberships, publications, teaching experience and research experience. Finally many academic CVs will also have appendices where the author has cited other relevant information or mentioned their own work.

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