Either of the Classic CV or Skills CV formats can be used for any application for many jobs including managerial, professional, administration and any other non-academic job. In general the chronological format tends to be used by new graduates or those with less work experience. You need to choose which of the two layouts suit you best and what you are most comfortable writing.
A Chronological layout gives an historical account of your career path so far. This is the format most people are familiar with – we have called this the ‘Classic CV’.
A Skills layout places emphasis on the skills, experience and strengths you have acquired and can offer the employer. It is not written chronologically but under headings which prioritise and match the skills the employer is looking for.
However, the ‘do’s and don’ts are the same for both CV formats.
Write your contact details across the page (saving space)
Include your landline, mobile and email
Briefly state exactly what it is you want – what job are you applying for. Don’t waffle.
This is the key element of your CV. The rest of your CV content will be based on this section. You can write this information using either bullet points or sentences. Use words which reflect skills and experiences which match the opportunity you are applying for but keep it short as you will have the opportunity to expand on these basic themes later in your CV.
Write in reverse chronological order. Don’t forget to include your degree(s) including the institution where you studied, your degree title(s) and the passes you achieved. If you are applying for your first post after graduating, then this section can do more than just list your educational achievements: you can highlight units, modules and projects from your degree course which are relevant to the post you are applying for. For instance, final year projects area useful to promote as they provide evidence of project management skills. You may want to add information about your secondary education especially if it shows skills such as languages. Stating your ‘A’ levels is a good idea but avoid lists of your GCSE’s. You could say which school you attended.
This is the section which raises more questions at interview. Again, write in reverse chronological order including your job title, the organisation you worked for and dates (just the year is sufficient). You could add relevant jobs you did as a student. Only add those which add to your experience and skill base relevant to the job you are applying for. Be careful that you do not write a job description but write about what you achieved in that job starting each statement with an action/power word. This is where you can link your work experience to the skills you highlighted in your Personal Statement.
Did you win any prizes or awards, have a position of responsibility, captained a team, organised an event or were recognised for anything else you have done? What about any other extra-curricular activities. You should include those which support your application/CV. If you have limited achievements to offer then leave this heading out and replace it with another heading more relevant to your experience.
If you speak any languages, play an instrument, have achieved recognised IT or any other non-academic qualifications, have a driving licence, or any qualification related to your extra-curricular activities, include them here. Both this section and the achievement section of your CV are where you can demonstrate your broader skills and activities, which make you a better employee/team player.
Perhaps you play/played a sport, have volunteering experience, were an active member of a university club or have an interesting hobby?
If you need the space just write ‘References available on request’. If the individual reading your CV is interested in, you will be contacted for references anyway. If you have space, give all contact details including title if appropriate.