How should I list my previous jobs on my CV?

Mon, 17/09/2012 - 13:23 -- nick

Employers spend more time looking at your employment history than any other part of your CV. Consequently, this section needs to quickly convince a potential employer of your suitability to the advertised role and effectively market you for your current career goals.

But, there are different formats of CV that can be used to communicate your employment history and the type that is most suitable depends on what stage your career is at:

Chronological CV
If you're applying for a position that is similar to the one that you already have and can show a track record of gradually advancing your career, this CV is ideal.

Include the dates that you worked with each employer (eg. March 2001 to May 2004) in addition to the company name, location, your full job title, responsibilities and achievements. List each position in reverse order starting with your current of most recent position.

The advantage of this type of CV is that it is easy for an employer to read, to get a snapshot of how your career has progressed and to understand why you are applying for another job.

Functional CV
This format is recommended for those who have been out of the workforce for a prolonged period of time or those seeking to change careers. It focuses on the experience and skills you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for instead of employment dates.

Replace the traditional company, job title and date information with the name of the most important skills and experience that you have developed through paid employment, voluntary work of general life experience.

This method ensures all of the information regarding your experience and skills looks recent, and keeps an employer's attention on your attributes.

You will also need to briefly list the positions you have held and dates, but you don't need to go into any great detail.

Combination CV
Redundancy and job-hopping have become more commonplace yet brief employment dates will still signal red flags for potential employers and could harm your chance of securing the job that you want.

Counter this by ‘dividing and combining' your employment history.

Put your various roles into batches and work out which have given you the certain skills that make you suitable for the job you're applying for. Put the company names and dates at the top of each group and list below the various achievements you have made and experience gained below.

Wherever possible, include measurable results for your work. For example, “Significantly increased revenues and grew client base by 40%”. Always make sure you are referring back to the job description to make sure the employer will easily be able to see why you're the ideal candidate.