Insurance employers are sure to receive a huge amount of job applications for every vacancy, so your CV is vitally important. There are many ways you can layout a CV and each of these can play to different strengths.

In this article, we look at the different ways you can layout a CV and hopefully help you decide which is best for you.

How to layout a CV

Chronological order

This is the most commonly used format, and lists all employment and education in chronological order. Employers have become familiar with it and therefore it makes it quicker for them to scan and read the document. However, if you are young then it could focus too much on your age.

Usually, this will be in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent experience and qualifications and working backwords.

The order of information should be as follows:

  1. Personal Details
  2. Qualifications
  3. Training
  4. Employment
  5. Interests
  6. References

When should I use a chronological CV?

You should use a chronological CV when:

  • You want to highlight work experience and skills.
  • You are progressing in the same career path and you can use a chronological CV to show any promotions you achieved
  • You want to put your current experience first

When shouldn’t I use a chronological CV?

However, there are circumstances in which a chronological CV isn’t suitable. For example;

  • If you are changing careers
  • You have held a number of short-term jobs in different industries
  • You have gaps in your employment history

Skills based

A skills based CV abandons the traditional chronological format and instead emphasises the skills and achievements. You should opt for this type of CV if you have changed jobs frequently, changing industry or if you are more mature, as it may take the spotlight away from your age.

You should display your information as follows:

  1. Personal details
  2. Summary of qualifications
  3. Skills, knowledge, attributes, abilities
  4. Summary of employment
  5. Interests
  6. References

When should I use a skills based CV?

You should be looking to use a skills based CV if you;

  • Are changing careers
  • Have held a number of short term jobs
  • Have gaps in your employment history
  • If you do not want employers to focus on your age

When shouldn’t I use a skills based CV?

Skills based CVs are appropriate for everyone, however, there are times when you may decide it’s not the CV for you to use;

  • If you want to highlight career progression
  • If you don’t have much work experience, it may be difficult to write more about your achievements than if you were to use a chronological CV.

A combined CV

If you can’t decide which CV layout is right for you, or you like the sound of both, then a combined CV is your best bet.

This type of CV is becoming more popular, and retains the fixed order of the chronological CV but while emphasising skills and achievements.

Here is how you should lay out a combined CV;

  • Personal details
  • Summary of qualifications
  • Skills, knowledge, attributes, abilities
  • Employment history
  • Professional development
  • Interests
  • References

When should I use a combined CV?

You should use a combined CV if you;

  • Have strong career progression with many achievements
  • Want to sell your strengths as well as your experience
    • For example, if you undertook an accountancy placement or internship and were offered a job of the back of it, you can highlight how your strengths led to career progression.

When shouldn’t I use a combined CV?

You should avoid using a combined CV if you;

  • Have little experience or achievements
  • Have employment gaps
  • Are a fan of short, concise CV’s – combined CV’s tend to be longer than your standard functional or chronological CV.

What should I consider when writing a CV?

Recruiters get a lot of CVs, and each one has their own list of do’s and don’ts. However, here are some tips that are applicable to all types of CV and recruiter;

  • It should be 2pp of A4
  • Always tailor the CV to the role you are applying for
  • Read the job description beforehand and include the action verbs used
  • Include all contact details
  • Use bullet points and lay each point out clearly
  • List skills, achievements, qualifications and work experience (and include dates).
    • However, do not list every achievement you have. Unfortunately, your stint as prefect at secondary school probably won’t get you a job as a reinsurance broker. Focus on the relevant attributes that the role requires and adjust your achievements accordingly.
  • Allow enough white space between text and bullet points
  • Never include your photo, age, nationality, sex or religion

Questions to ask yourself before you send off your CV

Before you fire off several combined CV’s, step back and ask yourself the following;

  • Does it pass the ’30 second test’?
  • What is your first impression of the document, good or bad?
  • Does it make you want to read the whole thing?
  • Does it look attractive?
  • Is it neat and well laid out?
  • Is it user friendly and look easy to read?
  • What is the overall length of the document?

Hopefully this has given you an idea of how to layout a CV and helped you decide which CV is best for you to use for your next job application. Good luck!

 

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