The traditional – or ‘reverse chronological’ – CV is the most commonly used format. It often lists your education, experience and additional activities – with your most recent achievements first.
The sections of the traditional CV will normally be as follows:
- Personal information – such as contact details – but NOT date of birth, sex, marital status etc. Space may mean you should just list one contact detail, e.g. Oxford email address (not XYZ@fluffybunny.com), and your mobile number
- Experience – the core of your CV
- Additional skills
This format makes it easy for employers to spot relevant information quickly and gives a complete picture of a candidate in a clear and structured way.
Remember, however, that you can alter the headings to suit the application you are making. For example, you could use the heading “Teaching Experience” instead of “Experience” if you are applying for a teaching job. Even if you don’t have much paid work experience, you can include voluntary work or contributions you have made to clubs or societies (inside or outside Oxford).
Skills based CV
Skills-based CV (PDF)
In a skills-based CV, the information is arranged to highlight relevant employability skills, with details presented under different skills categories. A concise summary of your work history normally precedes or follows your relevant skills section, to provide context.
This type of CV is used to highlight the transferability of your skills, and so is useful if you are applying to a role without direct experience. We generally only recommend using this style if you have great experience, as a considerable amount of evidence is required to make the skills sound meaningful. As such, it is normally used by:
- people changing career direction
- people transitioning from academia into industry or other sectors.
However, a similar style may be useful if you are applying to your first ever piece of work experience and have had few positions of responsibility, as it allows you to emphasise transferable skills you have gained from studying at Oxford.