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In most industries, when writing a CV, it should be no longer than 2 pages' long. Exceptions include IT, where CVs may go up to 4 or 5 pages, and medicine where CVs may reach 20 pages once all publications, presentations and audits are included.

There are three types of CVs:


A chronological CV focusses on presenting the candidate's experience on an employer by employer basis, with the posts being listed in reverse chronological order. It also contains detail of education and qualifications, together with hobbies. Some chronological CVs also contain a brief personal statement at the front which sets out the key skills and strengths of the candidate. This is the most common type of CV.

How to structure a chronological CV

A chronological CV typically uses the following structure:

  • Personal details (i.e. name and contact details)
  • Personal profile or career objectives. This should not exceed 5 lines.
  • Employment in reverse chronological order. Under each employer, you should set out a number of bullet points which describe your key achievements. In order to be fully effective, you should ensure that you use power words.
  • Key qualifications
  • Professional memberships
  • Hobbies and personal interests
  • Particularly useful for those applying within the same industry as it will demonstrate your career progression.
  • It is the favourite format for most employers, who simply want to get a feel for your career to date.
  • If you do not have many achievements across your career, taking a job by job approach will save you having a separate "Achievements" section (characteristic of Functional CVs) which may look tiny.
  • If you have gaps in your employment which you would rather not discuss, a chronological CV will make them more obvious.
  • If you are changing caree direction, a chronological CV will add little information to your new employer, who will be more concerned about the transferable skills that you are bringing rather than the detail of your experience in an unrelated sector.



Unlike a chronological CV, a functional CV places the emphasis on your skills and expertise rather than the chronology of you employment to date.

How to structure a chronological CV

A functional CV typically starts with a personal profile which highlights the achievements, skills and personal qualities that you possess. This is then followed by a succession of sections, each relating to a different skill or ability. These should be ordered in decreasing order of importance. Instead of focussing on any particular job, you should describe your experience in its glabality. Since you are not focussing on any particular past employment, this means you can include any skills or experience gained in voluntary or unpaid work. Here are examples of functional headings that are commonly found.

  • Administration
  • Advertising
  • Communication
  • Consulting
  • Counselling
  • Customer service
  • Designing
  • Editing
  • Education
  • Electronics
  • Engineering
  • Human Resources
  • IT experience
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Organisation
  • Planning
  • Public Relations
  • Publishing
  • Research
  • Sales
  • Secretarial
  • Supervision
  • Training
  • Travel
  • Writing
  • If you have changed jobs frequently, if your experience is a mish-mash of seemingly unrelated posts or if you have several career gaps, a functional CV will help place the emphasis on what you have to offer as a whole rather than on the chronology.
  • If you are changing industry, a functional CV will help the recruiter focus on your transferable skills.
  • If you are a more mature applicant, a functional CV will take the spotlight away from your age.
  • If you do not have much work experience, you may struggle to highlight achievements in a separate section.
  • A functional CV will not enable you to highlight consistent career progression. If you wish to convey career progression, you should adopt a chronological format.

To conclude the CV, you should then a list of employers and employment dates, as well as a section on your qualification. The last section should focus on your personal details and hobbies/interests.


A combined CV follows both the chronological and functional format, which makes the CV slightly longer than normal.

  • Perfect format if you have a strong career progression with many achievements.
  • Enables you to sell your strengths as well as your experience
  • Lengthier than a functional or chronological CV
  • Failing to get the attention with the right profile at the start of the CV may result in the whole CV remaining unread.
  • Not suitable for those with little experience or achievements.
  • Not suitable for those with employment gaps

Now visit our professional CV writing services page to increase your chances of interview with your future employer