Ensure you pick the right type of CV for you, with our guide to how many types of CV there are

Before tackling the content of your CV, have a careful think about how you want to present yourself, what your main strengths are, and how your career has progressed so far. It's vitally important that you start as you mean to go on, with a comprehensive strategy and an understanding of which of the different types of CV to choose.

CVs have changed considerably over the years. What was fashionable and on-trend 15 years ago no longer applies. But the structure of a CV has remained pretty much the same. So how many types of CV are available today? And what purpose do each of them fill? Whether you're just starting out in your career as a school leaver or graduate or you're a senior executive, it's a must that you know how many types of CV there are and which one is your best fit.

Below is a guide to how many types of CV there are and what each one can deliver in terms of presenting yourself in the best possible light. 

Different CV styles

When asking “how many types of CV are there?” you'll find three main CV styles, ones which are easily recognisable to hiring managers, recruiters, and employers. For specialist roles, such as academics and medics, there are added extras which are detailed later on, so for all you lecturers, teachers, and doctors out there, keep reading!

The chronological CV

Seen as the more traditional or classic CV style, a chronological CV (really, reverse chronological) is the most popular type of CV favoured by today's recruitment sector. It should have a professional profile and skills matrix, which lists key skills and phrases that correlate or match with the job description of the position you're applying for, plus contact details, of course.

This CV style works by listing your employment history, with the most recent first and then working backwards, with a brief description of roles going back 10 years underneath the job title, company name, and dates you worked there.

It's the same with the education section, which should be set out in reverse chronological order so that your most recent qualifications are the first things that a prospective employer views.

The functional CV

The main difference between a chronological CV and a functional CV is the career section. Also referred to as a skills-based CV, this type of CV focuses on your key skills and strengths, rather than going into detail about your career, and is perfect for those applicants who don't have a straightforward career path.

If you're returning to work after a long period away from the job market, such as an illness, travelling, bringing up a family, coming out of prison, or contract work, or are a recent school leaver with little work experience, or you're changing career, you need the CV to focus on your key skills, rather than your career journey and job responsibilities.

Whereas the traditional CV has a skills matrix which is just two or three words per skill, the functional CV should expand this section to really highlight and expand on each skill, both hard and soft, that you possess.

For example, instead of just writing “Safeguarding,” give more detail such as “I have always been mindful of keeping those who are vulnerable, such as small children, safe and secure in whatever situation they find themselves in.” In place of “Effective Communication,” you can add “Being bilingual, my communications skills are excellent as I'm able to articulate my thoughts to a range of different people, adapting my style to suit different circumstances.”

The combined CV

As the title suggests, this CV, the third most used type of CV, is a mixture of the chronological CV and the functional CV. Also known as a hybrid CV, this one incorporates a lengthened skills matrix section along with a detailed career summary - a potential option if you want to highlight specific achievements or skills that draw attention to you.

The disadvantage of this CV type is the length. Due to its nature of combining both CVs, it's likely to end up longer than the recommended two pages.

Other types of CV

Video CVs are on the rise, and will certainly make you stand out from the crowd. Check that the application process will accept a video CV before going ahead, as it's still in the early stages of adoption, with the leaning more towards the creative sphere.

An academic Curriculum Vitae might include publications, research projects, and countless qualifications, so it's accepted that it can be longer than two pages with many added sections.

Similar to an academic CV - in the fact that length doesn't need to be restricted due to extensive clinical skills, research, audits, and presentations - a medical CV may include references too, a section not included any more on traditional CVs.

Final steps to think about

Now that you're aware of how many types of CV there are to choose from and which suits which particular needs, it's time to knuckle down, make your choice, and get cracking with compiling your CV - along with picking the best file format!

It can still be a minefield out there with the many types of CV available. Put your mind at ease by contacting the professionals who'll know exactly which type of CV to apply to your unique position. Request a free CV review today.

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