CV Format?

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009 - career change, career transition, CV format, CV Writing, how to make a cv, How to Write a CV, Job Application, job search, Professional CV, tutorial


Functional CV Format?

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Creative Commons License photo credit: pat_ong

Dan, an SEO and Marketing expert, asks: Could you offer some advice on using a Functional CV or a Chronological CV format? I am worried about using a chronological format due to the fact I’ve been laid off from my last two jobs due to my position being eliminated after being with both companies less than a year each. I would prefer to say I have a year of experience in a job function than saying I held this position at company ABC for 6 months and the same position at company XYZ for 6 months as well. Does it make a difference to recruiters and hiring managers what type of CV is used?

In answer:
First, in any job application, never ever lie!

Hence, in this economy, be straightforward, honest, and direct. HR Professionals and Recruiters are swamped with hundreds of CV’s for one position will appreciate it. There is no shame in being made redundant, and it is a big club that’s growing every week. Your work history is what it is, so don’t bother trying to hide stuff that can be uncovered with a few simple questions during the interview, or a routine background check.

Functional CV

The Functional CV is designed to highlight accomplishments, and can be used to minimize chronology without eliminating it. I recommend functional CV’s under the following circumstances:

  • Career Changers whose most recent job is different than their target
  • Those with substantial time gaps (2years plus), due to care-giving or other valid reasons
  • Those with lots of short term jobs, except for the Contractor CV
  • Those who really want to sell their skills and accomplishments outside the context of chronology and job title

Functional CV’s are also used when applicants are trying to hide something, such as gaps in employment history. As functional CV’s are used only about 5%-10% of the time, you can hence see why recruiters or HR professionals may respond to a functional CV with some apprehension, depending on what they are looking for in an applicant.

Hence, the issue of trust between a chronological and and functional CV is in the reduced chronology. You must never eliminate a chronology section from your CV, but always include one which covers at least the last five years of employment history. Any CV which hides dates will end up deleted or in the circular file. I would also pay much more attention to your Cover Letter when choosing a functional CV format, in order to explain why you want to change careers to this job. State how your skills match up against the skills/experience requirements, and hence eliminate employer risk/create additional employer gains because of your background.

Hybrid CV

In your case, you are trying to hide a few short term jobs: in this economy, don’t worry too much about that. Start your CV with an accomplishments section that focuses on the key three or four key skills required for the job/your matching achievements, then move to chronology. This is what is termed a hybrid CV, where you can grab interest without focusing on dates at the top of the CV.

Good Luck!

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