What is the Best CV Format?

Picture this; out of, let us say a thousand job applications, your CV has to stand out for you to get a chance of getting hired.

This means that you have to write a CVensuring that every part of it adheres to what employers are looking for.

Your CV format is one of the most crucial parts when it comes to making it stand out. The format determines the outlook of your resume as it is the style you use to create it.

Are you wondering which format is the best to use? Here are the two most preferred CV writing styles preferred by employers.

Best CV Formats

There are 2 different formats that you can use to write your CV depending on what kind of jobs you are applying to.

You can use the chronological (traditional) CV format or the skills-based (functional) CV format.

Chronological CV Format

The chronological CV format is the most commonly used. This format presents your experience or your work history, starting from the most recent, to the least.

Use chronological CV format if;

  • You have experience and skills that are relevant to the job you seek.
  • You want to emphasize your career progression from entry-level positions to middle or senior-level posts.
  • This format is most suitable for people who have had mainly continuous employment with no employment gaps.

How to structure a chronological CV Format

If you choose to format your CV using the chronologic style. Follow the following order;

  • Personal Details (Your name and contact details).
  • Personal Profile or Career Objective.
  • Skills Section
  • Career History in reverse order (Unless you are a graduate or you have very little work experience, in which case, it may be best to start with your Education and Qualifications)
  • Education and Qualifications
  • Interest/Hobbies
  • References

Skills-based or functional CV format

This skill-based CV format or rather a functional format aims to emphasize your skills and personal qualities rather than displaying your work history.

Use this format if;

  • You are shifting careers and you want to show employers how transferable skills gained in other types of employment will be relevant for the job you are applying for.
  • You have extensive gaps in your employment history which would be hard to hide in a chronological CV format.

How to structure a functional CV format

As you write your curriculum vitae using the skill-based format, structure it this way;

  • Start with your personal profile; it is a highlight of your achievements, skills, and personal qualities you possess.
  • Follow it by the skill section with different subsections, each skill you want to include in your CV is the skills sections’ titles
  • Pick a skill, for example, customer service. Under this skill, explain how you have used that skill in the past with examples.
  • Instead of focusing on any particular job, you describe your experience in its entirety.

Since you are not detailing any specific role, this means you can include any skills or experience gained in voluntary or unpaid work.

Although not generally the preferred choice by most recruiters, some senior executive positions would require that a functional CV format be used.


The trick is to choose a format that will best market you. Look at your skills, your job history, and what you want your CV to emphasize.

Once you know what you want your CV to do, you can easily choose the most suitable format.

Need help writing a resume? Sign up for this professional CV writing service today!

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