The Four CV Formats

Although there are a number of CV types and templates, I will only cover four of the more common ones:


This CV is usually one page and is focused on brands and results. Graduates of business schools such as Wharton, Harvard, or London Business School tend to use this CV as it in a format preferred by the employers they target, for example, investment banks. It is very transactional, and, to put it bluntly, screams: “I am here to make money, increase profits, and drive revenue.” Please be aware that this CV, while great for Wall Street, may be a turn-off for less-transactional businesses.

The Competency-Based CV

This CV is best for someone who is looking to change industries and wants to focus on their soft skills. Rather than highlighting brands and results, it focuses on the skill set of the candidate and will highlight such things as leadership, P&L management, international sales, and other soft skills. It is my least favorite CV type and, I believe, the least effective. However, it can be a good option for someone who is transitioning functions or industries.

The Resultsand Responsibilities CV

This is the most versatile of the CV types and covers all the bases. It is one of the most common and highlights brands you worked for, responsibilities you had, and results you delivered.


The VIP CV is the most impactful and best suited to board- or CEO-level readers. A junior audience can get intimidated by a VIP CV, and it may backfire as it can come across as arrogant. It is best used when the hiring manager is a chairman or CEO. That is when the audience has direct accountability for the bottom line of the business.

CV Summary

I have created two tables to allow you to quickly and easily compare them so you can decide which is best for you.

Type of CV When should I use it?
MBA CV For transactional, revenue-generating roles
Competency-Based CV For making an industry change or for niche technical roles
Results & Responsibilities CV For taking a balanced approach suitable for most situations
VIP CV To position yourself as a guru or subject matter expert.

Best used when your audience is a Chairman, Board Member or CEO.


Below is a quick view of the CVs and their positives and negatives:

Type of CV Positives Negatives
MBA CV Succinct, punchy, and gives clear direction to your career path.


Creates an image of a

results-oriented executive.

Very limited in the amount of information given.


Can look too results-oriented and transactional for some employers.

Competency-Based CV Highlights core skills and abilities rather than industry experience. Limited brand strength as your employers are not listed on the first page.


May lose audiences with short attention spans. Does

not create an immediate impact.

Results and Responsibilities CV Conveys balanced amount of information about achievements and responsibilities covered in each role.


Presents a well-rounded profile.

Can be too long (in some cases, over two pages).


Can highlight gaps for candidates with limited achievements.

VIP CV Co-brands executives with top performers in the market.


Creates a powerful image.

Can be overkill and creates an image of being over-qualified.


May be interpreted as arrogant by some audiences leading to disqualification.


If you would like more information on your CV take or VIP Course or our CV Course on our website

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