Question; What is a successful CV?

Answer; One that wins you an interview.


Your CV is an important factor in the job application process.

Getting it right as it can make you a lot more attractive to employers. 

Here are the key characteristics of a good CV that will win you an interview for your dream job.


Get that job with a successful CV
  1. Start strong

An employer wants to know you have what they want. So, tell them straight away.

Immediately grab their attention with a powerful personal statement that quickly states your most relevant skills and experience. 

Aim to hook them in and get them reading your application.


  1. Show industry insight

Make yourself more attractive to employers by demonstrating that you have knowledge of the job you are applying for and awareness of the industry as a whole.

Do this by researching the sector and the role. For instance, find out about their company, products as well as their main competitors and then mention this in your personal statement.

The best place to get this information from is;

  • Their “About us” page (on their website)
  • Their Mission statement
  • Online searches
  • Social media
  • News coverage

Also show your suitability by using industry-specific language and by highlighting any;

  • Specific accomplishments
  • Awards
  • Key projects you have completed


  1. Make it look good

Image is everything, especially when it comes to your CV.

With first impressions critical to success, its vital that you spend time making a readable document that is also eye catching and visually appealing. Here are some tips on how;


Having the right font size
Font size and style can impact the readability of your CV. The best sizes are 11-12pt for normal text and 14-16pt for section titles and headers.

RELATED: The best font for a CV


White space
Leave plenty of white space around the text and between categories to make the overall CV layout easy on the eye.


Line space
Have gaps between paragraphs, so your writing doesn’t look crammed. However, don’t overdo it as too much space can limit the room you have.


Make sure margins are uniform on each side of the document.


  1. Targeted it at the job role

A tailored CV, like a well fitted suit will make you look good.

Make your CV fit the job you’re applying for by tailoring it around the role.

Start off by studying the job description in the advert, this will allow you to better;

  • Understand the employer’s objectives.
  • Use terms that resonate with the employer.
  • Respond directly to the recruiters needs.
  • Highlight relevant aspects of your experience and achievements.


  • AVOID – Being lazy and trying to save time by sending the same CV out to lots of vacancies.
  • INSTEAD – Take the time to write and change your CV for each new role that you apply for.

It might take longer to write out slightly different CVs, especially when applying for a large number of roles, but your chances of success will increase massively.


  1. Structure

Create the right type of chronological or functional CV for your circumstances. The layout must be clear and uncluttered so that key information can be found easily.


  1. Keyword friendly

Many companies use database software to screen candidates by filtering out those CVs which do not contain specific keywords and phrases.


To get past these Applicant Tracking Systems it’s important to include keywords that are relevant to the role, especially those that are listed in the job description.


Use Power words, Job titles and industry terminology to help search tools pick out your CV from the pile.


  1. Keep it short

In a CV less is more.

As a rule of thumb, your CV should be no more than 2 pages, but this can be difficult if you’ve had a long and varied career. However, it must be done because the average HR Manager has to sift through 100’s of application and simply doesn’t have the time to ready lengthy ones.

The aim is to reduce its size without losing vital information.

You can immediately do this by;

  • Reducing any old jobs that you had (i.e. longer than 4 years ago) to a single line description or one bullet point sentence.
  • Cutting out irrelevant information.
  • Writing short descriptive sentences (making every sentence a paragraph).
  • Excluding unnecessary sections like hobbies.
  • Summarising your qualifications.
  • Cutting down your experience and only list those relevant to the role being applied for.
  • Setting your margins to ‘narrow’ in Word, enabling you to gain valuable extra space.



Submit a one-page CV, as the recruiter may think you lack relevant experience.


  1. Keep it current

Ensure your CV is up to date. Review it on a regular basis and add any new skills or experiences to it. Every time something significant occurs in your career it must be included in it.


How to build a successful CV