Selecting the right CV to highlight your skills and experiences is extremely important. Find out which CV template would be the most effective for you
People often create one CV and then send this out regardless of the job or employer. This is a mistake and it could lead to you missing out on an interview invitation, or even a job offer.
Tailoring your CV is essential and so the more effort you put into it the better. The CV must highlight skills which match the recruiter's needs and sometimes you may need to employ a different CV template to achieve this.
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 template makes it easy for employers to identify potential candidates. It 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.
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 template is also useful if you have limited experience or are applying for a job which is not related to your degree.
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.
Academic CVs are focused on educational achievements and are used when applying for lecturing or research-based roles.
Although there's no page limit, it's important to keep your CV concise and targeted to the role's requirements, with each section in reverse chronological order. Your academic achievements, research interests and specialist skills should be placed on the first page. Ensure that your writing style is scholarly but clearly understood to those outside of your field of interest.
Include details of your specialist skills, research outcomes, potential future developments, and any funding or grants that you've received, conferences that you've attended, professional memberships that you've gained and publications that you've been featured in.
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.
To make your teaching CV stand out you should target it to the post you're applying for. Highlight the qualifications and experience you have gained, including:
- qualifications, particularly details of your teacher training;
- relevant modules from your degree/postgraduate course;
- details of school experience, prioritising where it's in the age range you want to teach;
- any other teaching experience e.g. sports coaching, summer camps or youth groups;
- relevant voluntary experience;
- interests relevant to teaching e.g. musical abilities or sporting activities;
- skills that will be useful in the role e.g. leadership, IT and languages;
- details of two current referees, such as one from your teacher training and one from teaching practice.
Local authorities and schools usually 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.
Technical CV for IT jobs
An IT CV, also known as a technical CV, can be used to apply for roles such as web developer, IT consultant, software tester or applications developer.
Include an introductory paragraph which mentions your technical expertise and experience and incorporate a 'key skills' heading which will allow for more detail when discussing technical competencies.
While you might be tempted to showcase all your technical abilities at once, ensure that you highlight relevant skills first and foremost. You should also bear in mind that the document will need to be understood by non-technical people such as HR managers.
Use this CV template to focus on your:
- ability to maintain existing software applications and develop new ones
- experience of applying technical standards, theories and techniques
- problem-solving capabilities
- communication skills.
If you're a student, ask your university careers and employability service to check your CV and cover letter for you.