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How to write a successful CV

Make the right first impressions by following this CV writing guide

Writing a CV can be frustrating, but as the first thing a potential employer will see, it’s absolutely crucial you get it right.

Here are some key pointers to help you write a successful CV.

Looks are important

Your CV needs to be crystal clear. All information should be set out neatly, and in a way which is easy to read. Apply the KISS principle – Keep it Simple Stupid; simple fonts and layouts are the most effective.

A good way to start is by using a template, with the sections already set out for you. Have a look on-line for some great CV template resources.

A catch-all approach doesn’t work

You won’t stand out if you’re sending out a generic CV with all your applications. You need to bear in mind the requirements of the role that you're applying for, and adapt your CV to make sure it’s as relevant as possible. Tailor your CV for each application you send off.

Focus on skill and experience

Employers want to know what you can do, evidenced by what you have done already. Be clear about what you have achieved in the past, referring as much as possible to specific instances of success. If you’ve surpassed your sales targets in your last job, or reorganised the stock room to be more efficient, say so.

When you list your interests, always bring the detail back to what skills you have acquired. Try to show how you have used your initiative and taken on responsibility. Make yourself sound like someone who can get things done.

Triple check

Employers will most likely disregard a CV with spelling mistakes or other errors. Nobody wants to hire a sloppy person; if you can’t pay attention to errors in your own work, why would you be able to for your employer?

Two pages at most, one is better

Don’t let your CV run into several pages, two is more than enough, but a tidy one-pager is better. If you don’t think you can fit everything on one page take a look at Elon Musk’s CV. Despite being one the most successful innovators and entrepreneurs of all time, his CV is a neat and tidy single page.


At Twin we offer advice and guidance as part of Youth and Work programmes. If you are interested in finding out more about how we can help you visit our programmes page.