The 3 Best CV Layouts According to Employers

3 best cv layouts

CVs are the standard for nearly all job applications. They help hiring managers understand a candidate's qualifications, achievements, and other pertinent information for the hiring process. While many roles require a standard chronological CV, there are times when a different CV layout may benefit your job application.

Here are the 3 best CV layouts according to employers and some guidelines to help make different CV structures work for you, courtesy of the experts at TopCV.

Performance CV

Performance CV

This is the most popular CV. A performance CV highlights job titles and company names, starting with your most recent job and working backwards. It is similar to the chronological CV, but has an achievements section at the top, which shows impressive achievements and makes you stand out from other candidates. Under each job title you list your responsibilities in the role. Performance-based CVs are used by candidates whose career history has large gaps, candidates who want to change career industries, or candidates whose relevant experience was some time ago.

Use this CV when you want to…

  • Highlight your career progression.
  • Show your present or last employer is well known by the company you’re applying to.
  • Stay in the same line of work.

Functional CV

Functional CV

Unlike the performance CV, which looks at achievements and contributions on the job, functional CVs translate experience into related skills for the career. These formats are useful if you’re looking for a career change because they focus on transferable skills and experience, rather than job titles, companies, and how long ago you got the experience. These formats divide skills and achievements in three to six sections with keywords related to the job. For example, a lawyer who wants to transfer his skills to a business firm may divide his CV into these sections: leadership, organization, contracts, negotiating, mitigation, and new business structure.

Use this CV when you want to…

  • Change to a broad, new area of work, and show your relevant transferable skills and experience.
  • Distract from gaps in your employment.
  • Highlight skills you’ve gained in previous jobs but that you don’t use in your current or most recent job.

Targeted CV

Targeted CV

Targeted CVs are skills-based formats, another strategy for those looking to change career paths or industries. It’s called a targeted CV because you use it to aim for a specific type of job and only include details that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Targeted CVs have only two sections: abilities and achievements. Under each section, each listing could be organized chronologically or by subsections, depending on the job targeted. A targeted CV is similar to a functional CV, in that it focuses on skills rather than job roles. This helps major strengths stand out while distracting from weaknesses.

Use this CV when you want to…

  • Change careers, have had a varied career, or you want to describe the experience you’ve gained as a whole.
  • Target your CV towards one particular job and have gaps in your employment history.
  • Emphasize skills you have gained in previous jobs that you don’t use in your current or most recent job.

A Look at CV Formats

It is often confusing determining which CV format to use. After all there are four primary formats. The Golden Rule for CVs is to first consider using a chronological approach. Start with career summary, areas of expertise, and a key skills assessment for the first section. Organize the following sections as expertise, internships and fellowships, publications, awards, presentations, lectures, education, professional memberships, and professional development. If a chronological format doesn’t work, follow these three steps.

  • Use performance CVs to highlight career progression, achievements and notable contributions. In other words, this shows what you’ve done.
  • Use a functional CV to highlight your skills and abilities through detailed roadmaps.
  • Use a targeted CV to display all your abilities as they related to a specific position.

M.A. Smith is a national and regional award-winning journalist, media consultant, marketing and public relations specialist, and all-around fun guy. He excels at taking the written word, transforming it into creative dialogue. His work is featured on Newsmax, eBay, Ebyline, The Weather Channel, and Ultius. When not working on his latest articles and nonfiction books, Smith enjoys playing with his black-and-white tuxedo cat, Boots, and learning about the latest SEO and digital marketing.

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