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CVs and cover letters: Example CVs

Pick the right type of CV to highlight your skills and experiences in the best possible way to employers

The most common mistake when creating a CV is to prepare a standard CV and then send it to all recruiters and for all types of job without amending it to suit the particular job or recruiter.

This can be problematic because you risk your CV looking impersonal and standardised. It could also lead to you not presenting your learning, skills and interests in a targeted way.


Traditional CV

Photo: Traditional CV

The traditional CV, sometimes known as a chronological CV is used to match your qualifications and work experience with the requirements for the job role. The CV is structured in reverse chronological order i.e. the most recent qualifications and experience are listed first.

This type of CV makes it easy for employers to identify potential candidates. This format allows you to provide clear details of your qualifications, work history and responsibilities which match the criteria provided in the job description.

It's important to include:

  • dates - cover any gaps in your history;
  • qualifications and work experience - match these to the role you're applying for;
  • additional skills and knowledge - cover essential criteria for the role.

See our example of a traditional CV.


Skills-based CV

Photo: Skills-based CV

The skills-based CV, also known as a functional CV, can be used if you have gaps in your employment history. This type of CV is also useful if you have limited experience or you are applying for a job which is not related to your degree subject.

Employability skills are transferable to different roles and employers. The skills-based CV allows you to focus on the skills you have developed in various areas of your life.

It's important to:

  • position your skills profile prominently;
  • match skills with the role profile and use the same headings;
  • provide evidence of how you've used your skill in a real life situation.

See our example of a skills-based CV.


Academic CV

Photo: Academic CV

Academic CVs are focused on your academic achievements and are used when applying for lecturing or research-based roles, including post-doctoral research. Although there is no page limit, it's important to keep your CV concise and targeted to the requirements of the role.

Your research and academic achievements, research interest and specialist skills should be placed on the first page, if possible. Ensure your writing style is scholarly but clearly understood to those outside your field of interest. Each section should be in reverse chronological order.

Remember to include:

  • your research outcomes and future developments;
  • details of your specialist skills;
  • funding, awarded grants, conferences attended, professional memberships and publications.

For more information, see our example of an academic CV.


To find out how to market a PhD effectively, see your PhD, what next? If you're a postgraduate but not looking for an academic career, your CV should follow an alternative layout.


Teaching CV

Photo: Teaching CV

To make your teaching CV stand out from the rest, target your application to the post you are applying for. Highlight the qualifications and experience you have gained, including:

  • qualifications, particularly details of your teacher training;
  • relevant modules from your degree;
  • details of school experience, prioritising where it is in the age range you want to teach;
  • any other teaching experience e.g. sports coaching, summer camps, youth groups;
  • any relevant voluntary experience;
  • any interests relevant to teaching e.g. musical abilities, sporting activities;
  • any skills that will be useful in the role e.g. leadership, IT , languages;
  • details of two current referees, such as one from your teacher training and one from teaching practice.

Increasingly, local authorities and schools follow 'safer recruitment procedures' and so ask all applicants to complete a standard application form. That way no-one can hide information, which may be possible in a cleverly written CV.

For more information, see our example of a teaching CV.

To find out more about teaching, see teaching and education.


To find out more about what information to include in a CV, see how to write a CV and cover letters.

If you are a student, ask your university careers and employability service to check your CV and cover letter for you.

Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects
April 2013

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