What Is CV Format?

Depending on your position, industry, and geographic location, your CV’s format may contain slight differences, but every CV should have the following sections:

          • Personal contact information
          • Personal statement
          • Work experience
          • Education
          • Skills

Other optional sections include:

          • Certifications and training
          • Professional affiliations
          • Industry awards
          • Languages
          • Publications/Links to portfolio
          • Volunteer experiences or relevant hobbies

CV Formatting Guidelines

Additionally, every CV should follow these basic formatting guidelines:

          • One-inch margins
          • 10 to 12 point font for body, 14 to 16 for headings
          • Clear, consistent, professional typeface such as Arial or Times New Roman
          • Single or 1.15 spacings
          • Bullet points with clear, concise language
          • One to pages long, unless otherwise specified
          • Save PDF and DOC file versions

3 CV Format Types

When you begin to write, it’s important to know there are three types of CV formats:

          • Chronological: Also known as the reverse chronological format, this is the traditional approach to writing a CV where work experience is the main focus on the document.
          • Skills-based: The skills-based CV format is almost identical to the chronological, but devotes more attention to skills with an additional section labeled “Skills Summary”.
          • Combination: The combination, or hybrid, CV format uses elements from reverse chronological and skills-based CV types, with a balanced focused between skills and experience.
chronological cv format

Chronological CV Format

Structure:

  • Contact information
  • Personal statement
  • Work history
  • Relevant skills
  • Additional sections such as awards, certifications, and volunteer experience
skills based cv format

Skills-based CV Format

Structure:

  • Contact information
  • Personal statement
  • Skills summary
  • Relevant skills
  • Work history
  • Additional sections such as awards, certifications, and volunteer experience
combination cv format

Combination CV Format

Structure:

  • Contact information
  • Personal statement
  • Relevant Skills
  • Work history
  • Education
  • Additional sections such as awards, certifications, and volunteer experience

How To Format A CV

To effectively format a CV, you will need to fill in each section with the appropriate information.

Contact Information

Your CV should have the following contact information:

          • Full name.
          • Professional job title.
          • Location (city, state/country).
          • Email address (make sure your email is professional).
          • Phone number.
          • LinkedIn profile.
          • Other professional social media or website links.

A CV’s contact information is found at the top of the page as a separate header. Make it easy for employers to understand and try to have your name stand out without it being distracting.

View some of our CV templates to get a better idea of what format to use.

Personal Statement

The personal statement comes after your contact information on your CV. It is a brief yet engaging introduction to the value you offer as an employee.

There are two types of personal statements you can use:

          • CV summary: A CV summary focuses on your past experiences and achievements.
          • CV objective: A CV objective states your goals, skills, and relevant educational background.

Choose a CV summary over a CV objective when possible. A CV summary can provide specific details that validate your qualifications.

In either case, use the personal statement section of a CV to grab the reader’s attention and make them want to learn more about you.

To accomplish this, your personal statement must be:

          • Clear and concise (no more than 100 words).
          • Professional in tone.
          • Tailored to the job you are applying to.
          • Quantifiable with its achievements or skills.

To give you a better idea, here is an example of a good CV personal statement:

“Energy consultant with a PhD in Ecology, specializing in avian migration. Over 15 years of experience for multiple Fortune 500 companies in 11 countries. Highly organized, experienced in five different project management software systems, and versed in programming languages Python and R.”

Work Experience

For the work experience of your CV, use the following format:

          • Reverse chronological order. List your most recent professional experience first and work backward from there.
          • State your job title, company name, and dates of employment.
          • Use bullet points to list responsibilities and achievements, with quantifiable data when possible.
          • Use buzzwords from the job description.

Education

The education experience of your CV will contain the following:

          • Institution name.
          • Type of degree.
          • Area of study.

Additionally, you can list information such as honors and achievements if they help you stand out as a qualified candidate.

Skills

When tailoring your CV to a specific job, list desired skills. This should be a combination of technical skills, hard skills, and soft skills.

Generally, though you will want to stick with technical and hard skills, as soft skills are harder to prove on a CV.

Remember to look for skills in the job description and use these keywords to help your resume stand out, especially with ATS.

Additional CV Sections

Some CVs are more extensive than others. This is particularly true in academia and research fields in the United States.

Whereas in the rest of the world, a CV is treated the same as a resume, in the US, it is expected for your CV to provide a comprehensive list of all your professional and academic experiences.

It is also possible that certain jobs may request more information. In any case, additional sections to a CV include:

          • Awards
          • Affiliations
          • Certifications
          • Publications
          • Grants and fellowships
          • Conferences
          • Volunteer experience
          • Relevant hobbies or interests
          • Languages

CV vs. Resume

In most places outside the U.S., a CV means the same thing as a resume. Your CV will likely only be one to two pages long and tailored to the job description.

However, in the United States, a CV usually refers to a professional document that comprehensively records your academic and professional history. This is usually used for academic and research positions.

Due to its extensive detail, this CV type can be up to ten pages long under certain circumstances.

Try Our CV Examples

Do you have a specific job or industry in mind? Then look at our downloadable CV examples that provide an easy-to-use format to write your next CV!

Key Takeaways

          • A CV is formatted with the following sections: personal contact information, professional summary, work history, education, and skills.
          • You can provide additional sections if you have relevant qualifications, such as awards, certifications, and volunteer experience.
          • Most CVs are only one to two pages long; however, academic CVs and other special types may be more comprehensive and up to several pages long.

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Conor McMahon, CPRW

Conor McMahon, CPRW

Content Writer

Conor is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) for Hloom.com. He has over three years of professional writing experience as well as experience in professional development training. As a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches (PARWCC) Conor has written on career development topics ranging from resume and cover letter best practices, employer/employee communication, job seeking help, and more. He received his degree in Music Industry at Northeastern University and plays guitar in his free time.

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