Generally, we have 3 types of CVs;
- The Reverse Chronological CV
- Functional CV
- Combination CV
All types of CVs have their advantages and disadvantages and which one to use depends on what you want to achieve as will be explained further in this blog post.
Reverse Chronological CV
This is the most widely used CV format and it is little surprise that some people refer to it as the “Full CV”. A chronological CV is for that professional that has stayed in the same industry over a period and is still focused on a career path in the same sector/industry.
The reverse chronological CV is a CV format that captures your individual employment history starting with the most recent and working it back in time. Most of your inputs in your CV be it your “Employment History” or “Educational Career” will very well start from the most recent to the least recent.
Figure 1: Reverse Chronological CV Work Experience Sample
Higher-level professional; your last 10-15 years of work experience can be covered in your CV. You can capture other earlier work experiences as a summary under a separate heading e.g. Earlier Professional Achievements, Earlier Work Experience to avoid information overload. The most important thing is to show your value and expertise and you can do that with the most important experiences you’ve had.
Entry-Level Professional (Recent graduate) or undergraduate; don’t worry much if you’ve not had a full time working experience, you can consider highlighting your experience while serving (NYSC), during your Industrial Training, during a volunteer experience or any other notable part-time job you have had. You can also include the achievements you made while in school i.e. projects executed, group achievements, etc.
For an entry-level professional, the length of your CV should not be anything more than 2 pages. Whatever you have to highlight can very well fit into one or two pages.
Functional CVs come in handy when you have been involved in different jobs that are not similar over some time or when you are seeking an opportunity outside your current sector/industry. Based on the requirements of the current job you want to apply for; you arrange your work experiences based on the ones that are closely linked or similar in experience and achievement to the new job you want to apply or.
Functional CVs is not dated like reverse chronological CVs; it presents your professional achievements by importance not by date. Though it still maintains the other key aspects of a CV like Skills, Personal profile, etc.
When your mission is to show a hiring manager the type of employee that you are with your skills, training, and certifications, then a combination CV is your answer. Combination CVs lets you position your skills and experiences in a detailed manner to meet a prospective job you are seeking.
Also, when you want to mirror the job requirements of an application on your CV even though you’ve not had prior experience in that role or similar role, using a combination CV is your best bet. Your profile, qualification to education, training, etc. can be used to show how qualified you are for that role.