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There are a lot of different styles of CVs to choose from:
Chronological, functional, or combination. Visual or minimalist.
The world would be a wonderful place if you could send ten different versions of your CV to the prospective employer, so they can pick out the one they like the most.
The sad truth is—
You only get one shot.
And if your CV style of choice doesn’t do a great job, the recruiter will quickly go for the next one from the heap.
But don’t worry.
This article will show you:
- Professional CV styles employers and recruiters expect.
- How to choose the best style for you to boost employability.
- Uncommon CV variants that might be worth a shot.
Want to save time and have your CV ready in 5 minutes? Try our CV builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ CV templates and create your CV here.
Sample CV made with our builder—See more templates and create your CV here.
CV Styles Example
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Outcome-focused IT project manager with 9+ years experience. Accomplished in managing teams of up to 15 developers (both in-house and remotely), skilled in cost and resource management to bring complex projects to fruition. Have developed a particular interest in cloud migration projects and aim to advance my career in this fascinating field.
Senior Project Manager
Excelsior Consultants, London
- Re-engineered legacy system and implemented new CRM System for major high street retailer that increased gross sales by 20%.
- Deployed content optimization tool for online shopping application that improved efficiency by 45%.
- Instrumental in negotiation and procurement for a £2m fraud control monitoring app contract.
- Oversaw 15–20 projects simultaneously, managing the full life cycle of projects.
- Established and monitored budget requirements with regular review of billing and contracts.
IT Project Manager
Salve Systems, London
October 2013–December 2017
- Successfully collaborated with developers and technical team to perform root cause analysis of all issues.
- Resolved a backlog in excess of 9,000 issues related to both software and hardware bugs related to a corporate merger.
- Closed an average of 90 issues per day to ensure the migration of all the data was moved to the new cloud-based solution on time.
- SharePoint admin, developed online solutions to assist a team of 50 during conversion from legacy paper solution.
BEng Computing (Hons) 2:1, September 2009–June 2013
Imperial College London
- Time management. Used work breakdown structure to clearly define project activities and tasks.
- Methodologies. Experienced in use of PRINCE2 and waterfall methodologies.
- Cost control. Meticulous planned budgets in consultation with key stakeholders.
- Quality management. Ensured that all activities necessary to plan and implement a project were effective with respect to purpose of objective and its performance.
- Risk management. Managed risk identification, mitigation and resolution to minimize impact on project success.
- PRINCE2 Practitioner
1. Classic CV Styles
Let’s jump right in—
There are three traditional CV formats: reverse chronological, combination, and functional style CVs.
Each of these CV styles is suitable for different job seekers and scenarios.
This is the most common CV style out there. And for a good reason.
A chronological CV format focuses on your professional experience and achievements, starting from the most recent ones and moving back in time. It’s easy to navigate for the recruiters and parsable by all sorts of ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) software.
A typical reverse chronological CV consists of the following sections:
The chronological CV style is a great choice for candidates with a consistent career progression, as it makes it easy to present their relevant achievements on a CV.
It’s also suitable for students and entry-level candidates without a long employment history. Its traditional CV layout and chronological order are perfect for structuring information in an orderly and approachable manner.
The functional CV style is also referred to as the skills-based CV.
This style of CV puts your professional skills in the limelight. What skills to highlight on a functional CV? Always list the relevant skills that match the position.
Your functional style CV doesn’t have to (or even shouldn’t) focus on all skills you have. Instead, choose the strongest ones and build your CV around them.
A typical functional style CV template includes such sections as:
- CV header
- CV profile
- Skills summary
- Additional skills section
- Work history
This style of CV works best for creatives who need to have a portfolio of work, military transitioners writing their military-to-civilian CVs, as well as for candidates who don’t want to come across as overqualified.
This CV style isn’t favoured by the recruiters. Why? It's not as easy to scan as the chronological CV. Plus, the ATS may have a hard time parsing it.
The combination CV style, as the name suggests, combines the best elements of two previous CV styles, and puts both your experience and skills in the spotlight.
A typical combination CV (or hybrid CV, as it’s often called) consists of such sections as:
- Contact information
- Skills summary
- Additional skills
- Professional experience/job description
It’s a very flexible CV style and because of this, you can rearrange the order of CV sections to suit your needs.
This type of CV is suitable for candidates with a lot of experience behind their belts targeting specific roles. It’s also good for career changers, as well as those who want to detract the recruiters from gaps in their employment.
If you decide to go with this CV style, you need to know it may be challenging to get it just right.
2. New CV Styles
With more and more people entering the workforce, the job search has become more competitive than ever.
No wonder candidates are looking for new ways of making themselves visible.
Experimenting with CV styles is one way of grabbing the hiring manager's attention.
Modern CV styles can help you stand out when applying for jobs in creative fields.
Mind you, though.
Too much of a good thing is not such a good thing.
When choosing one of these modern CV styles, make sure it fits the position and company culture.
Creative CV Styles
Creativity knows no limits.
For this reason, a creative CV style may refer to a small detail you decide to add to your otherwise traditional CV (e.g. a rating scale for your skills), or a CV that features a customized graphical element that covers the entire page.
Take a look at our selection of creative CV templates to get inspired, and pick the creative CV style you like.
Pro Tip: Creative CV styles may also include extra sections, not found in other types of CVs. Or quite the opposite. They may not include certain sections at all and replace them with non-standard elements.
Visual CV Styles
CV science says a recruiter spends about 6 seconds scanning your document.
What better way to impress the recruiter than make your CV visually striking?
Play around with CV font styles, font sizes, white space, headers, or even CV paper to turn your CV into a small work of art.
Don’t let the visuals push the content of your CV to the back. Your CV’s looks are to aid its content. Not replace it.
Our gallery of visual CV templates will help you find the direction.
Infographic CV Styles
Infographics have taken the Internet by storm.
And honestly, there’s nothing surprising about it.
They look great and are informative at the same time.
Just like a good CV should.
This style of CV is bound to attract the recruiter's attention. But beware: infographic CV styles will almost certainly fail to go past the ATS scan, so send them directly to the hiring manager’s inbox.
And if you’re looking for ideas, head straight to our hand-picked selection of the best infographic CV templates on the Internet.
Pro Tip: Make sure both your CV and cover letter are in the same style.
When making a CV in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building your CV here.
When you’re done, Zety’s CV builder will score your CV and tell you exactly how to make it better.
3. CV Styles by Length
The style of your CV may refer to a number of things.
One of the most common elements that differentiate one CV from the other is the CV length.
One-Page CV Style
There's been much debate going on about how far back a CV should go, and it doesn't look like there's a single best answer.
That said, a one-page CV style does have its benefits.
For one thing, second pages tend to go M.I.A. The best way to avoid incomplete CVs is to fit all you need on a single page.
Plus, a single-page CV is much more approachable to the recruiter.
A typical job offer attracts about 250 applications. Reading all of them is a daunting task, all the more so if each CV in the pile is longer than one page.
If you find this CV style appealing, check out our collection of one-page CV templates.
Two-Page CV Style
Two-page CVs aren't extinct.
In fact, you may have a good reason to opt for this style of CV, like—
If this isn't a good enough reason for your CV to span two pages, what is?
According to this study, over 77% of employers expect a seasoned worker’s CV to be at least two pages.
Pro Tip: Make sure your CV is free from some typical CV mistakes, and check out our CV writing tips.
4. Current CV Styles
Here’s the thing:
Every fashion comes and goes.
The latest CV styles today will be out of style tomorrow.
With this in the back of your mind, let’s take a look at several professional CV styles that have gained quite a following recently.
Minimalist CV Style
The less is more principle has become popular over the past few years.
And, truth be told, it’s the kind of fashion that could stay around for a bit longer.
The minimalist fashion is popular with business-style CVs and bullet-style CVs.
The CVs made in this style focus entirely on content and scannability.
We have a great collection of minimalist CV ideas, take a look and pick out the one you like.
Simple & Basic CV Style
Basic CV styles are particularly suitable for students and entry-level candidates who may not have a lot of work experience or employment history but who don’t want to fill up their applications with fluff either.
As a matter of fact, basic CV styles are suitable for just about anyone who wants to focus on the content.
Your basic-style CV doesn’t have to be boring at all.
Browse through our selection of blank CV templates and find the one most appealing to you.
Here’s all you need to remember about CV styles:
The most popular traditional CV styles are: chronological CV, functional CV, and combination CV.
- Some of the new CV styles comprise: creative CV style, visual CVs, infographic CVs, minimalist CVs, basic CVs.
- You can also categorize CV styles by the length of the document.
- When choosing the best CV style for your needs always make sure it fits the nature of the job (traditional vs. modern) and the company culture.
- It’s not just the style of the CV that’s important. See to it that your CV is tailored to the job offer.
- And don’t forget to choose a matching style for your cover letter as well.
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your CV will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
Not sure what CV style to choose? Give us a shout out in the comments below! Always happy to help.