Help Choosing the Best Executive CV Resume Writing Format and Templates

Executive Resume Writing Formats

Carefully choosing the best executive CV writing format and template is important as this largely governs the way a CV is constructed and approach used, thereby influencing key things like layout, structure, presentation, content and logical progression. Overall, there are several CV / resume formats, each designed for different purposes. These include Chronological, Performance, Functional, Targeted and Creative resume formats. To assist executives in optimising best CV writing formats, we profile each resume type and look at how technology is changing the way resumes are written. In practice, resumes may include elements from each resume writing format.

  • Chronological CV
  • Performance CV
  • Functional CV
  • Targeted CV
  • Creative CV
  • Online / Technology Formats
  • Future Resume Formats

Chronological CV

This is the most common executive CV writing format used in the UK and is designed to present current job roles first followed by previous employment history in reverse chronological order. This is important as most employers will focus on current and most recent roles first, so logically these need to be featured towards the top of the CV (certainly on the first page). Strongest emphasis must be placed on current / most recent executive roles as these are most important to what candidates are doing now. There is no point putting the most important information further down the CV as chances are it will be ignored or overlooked.

Performance CV

This is a variant of the Chronological CV. The Performance CV aims to differentiate executives by highlighting strongest achievements in a separate section towards the top of the CV. To overcome an key issue of not having enough exceptional ‘stand alone’ executive achievements or a longstanding track record would be for candidates to showcase strong career progression. Outstanding career progression can be presented as an achievement in its own right because it shows high potential and acts as a key indicator towards future success, especially if trying to break into top executive-level roles.

Functional CV

This CV writing format aims to feature specialist skills or expertise, especially if target roles require precise technical skills, industry knowledge or experience likely to add value to employers. These formats may be applied more in engineering, research or information technology sectors. However, there are often certain limitations regarding this CV writing format, particularly if not presented effectively. For instance, sometimes candidates over-complicate layouts leading to confusion and uncertainty about precisely what candidates have done, for how long, when and for which employer. Keep it simple!

Targeted CV

Targeted resumes are those designed for specific roles, industry sectors, career paths or employers. For instance, there may be executive roles with certain specialist requirements, competencies, skills, expertise, training, qualifications and minimum entry criteria. Alternatively, there is a requirement to carefully target resumes by writing bespoke versions for each job applied for. Therefore, CVs must be clearly targeted towards specific roles and job descriptions to help maximise chances of being shortlisted for interview.

Creative CV

These are much less common because these require candidates showcasing creative skills (talents) using a carefully put together portfolio, documentation or presentation, often to complement a more traditional resume format. The idea is to give tangible evidence of what candidates have done and what they can do. This can include creative design, marketing, architects, artists, photographers and models, though we would reasonably not expect executives to be using this format.

Online / Technology Formats

There are growing instances where web developers have designed their own websites to showcase themselves within the technology community. Executives are also getting in on the act by establishing an online presence through LinkedIn or board member profile on a company website. Other people have created dedicated web pages or a resume profile as an extension to a job board.

Future Resume Formats

There have been suggestions in the US that the role of the resume will be diluted as LinkedIn, networking platforms and social media become increasingly ubiquitous. For instance, with the growing influence of LinkedIn some have predicted that in 10 years time the traditional resume formats will be obsolete in favour of electronic / online formats. LinkedIn is likely to play an important role in this change, so it is all the more crucial to establish an effective online presence and build networks.

Executive CV Writing Formats: Conclusion

We have gone through the main resume writing formats for executives, though in reality CVs are likely to be a hybrid of each format. This is because it is important for individual candidates to have a well-designed, clearly targeted and logical format that reflects them as a candidate and sells credentials in the best way possible. Therefore, executives must pay special attention to how the resume is constructed or alternatively seek professional guidance. External article: Examples of top 5 mistakes on executive resumes.

Leave a Reply