CV Style and Content

The style in which you should write a CV based on your goals and experience, as well as essential content to include.

The aim when writing CV content should be to present a well-rounded and balanced view of you as a person. It should contain the following information:

Current Occupation
Telephone Number
Date of Birth
Driving License Details
Secondary and Higher Education: where studied and qualifications
Professional Qualifications
Employment History
Other info: interests, volunteering, achievements.

A CV is a relatively flexible document and you may want to change the order in which information is presented to suit certain prospective employers. For example, where your employment experience is particularly relevant to the position then you may want to put that information first and vice versa if it is your education that may catch their eye.

There are three main ways of styling a CV's content: Targeted, Functional and Chronological.

This CV is best to use when you are aiming for a specific position and is written with that job in mind. It can be a combination of functional and chronological styles but all detail must be written with a clear objective. It can be very useful when needing to emphasise skills not obviously gained in your last position or that were gained outside paid employment. If written well, it an also impress the reader with both the concise details and also the effort it took – it shows that you understand the jobs requirements and have taken the time to tailor your CV accordingly.

Functional CV
This is skills based, rather than focussing on who you worked for and what your job was. It is useful for situations when you don't have a track record of jobs to list. It is written to emphasise skills rather than take the reader chronologically through the life of the writer. It is becoming increasingly popular, although it is important to have the skills to lead it – or you may find it difficult to fill the page. This style is useful if you have had a number of positions that are unconnected but demonstrate relevant skills, if you are changing careers, if you are re-entering the jobs market or wish to condense several similar jobs into one - avoiding repetition. This style is good for speculative CVs.

Chronological CV
This style places the emphasis on your career history, presenting your CV in chronological order starting with your most recent job first. Don’t work from your first job to your last as employers would find this confusing. This style is useful for: when your career history shows natural progression and growth; if you're staying in the same field of work; and / or the job titles and companies worked for have been impressive. Your last / current position should include more information about your duties, skills and achievements than the previous ones, as this is probably going to be the most relevant. Include the main highlights, what you achieved (not just what you did) and also the skills you developed. If there are any facts and figures of achievements or targets met, then these should also be included.

Be warned that any gaps in employment will show as will sideways movements and demotions.
N.T. 16-1-06

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