How to write a successful CV

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You know how you see hundreds of adverts every day, but hardly remember any? Well, your CV is essentially your advert and a chance to show employers what you’ve got. Make sure you stand out. Remember, first impressions count.

Here at Distance Learning we like to send our students out into the world of work with the experience and skills needed to impress potential employers. Take a look at our top CV writing tips that will send you straight into the hot seat.


With so many applications to filter and so little time to select a candidate, it’s essential to make a good impression. Identify your main selling points and key components. It’s often hard to select a handful of these at one given time, but keep a notepad handy and be prepared to write down as they come to you. A good idea is to start with a basic profile of yourself detailing who you are, what job you’re interested in and why someone should read on.  


A successful CV is always presented and clearly printed on crisp white paper. The layout should be clean and structured without any spelling errors, mistakes or pen marks. Always remember the hotspot of your CV - the first sentence is perhaps most crucial as this will tell an employer everything they need to know, so make sure you include a clear introduction. 


Clear, concise and confident. These are the three C’s to keep in mind when writing your CV. You don’t need pages of paper to explain why you are the perfect candidate. The secret to success is a non-waffle document. This is the chance for employers to get a feel for what makes you tick, not to read an essay. With often hundreds of applications to consider, it’s unlikely they’ll read yours cover to cover. Most will make a judgement about a CV in sections, so stick to a maximum of two sides of A4. 


Read the job description thoroughly, taking notes and making bullet points with everything you can satisfy and all the bits you can’t. In the areas you’re lacking, adapt your skills to cover this. It’s important to understand that businesses are looking for the best possible candidate, so the criteria may seem a little ambitious – don’t fret. Make it clear (in your cover letter) you’re willing to take on training to adapt to their needs. This demonstrates an enthusiasm for the position and determination to succeed.  


When talking about past experiences use positive language, such as "developed”, "achieved” or "improved.” Try to relate the skills you learned from work to the position you’re applying. For example, working in an office environment teaches you to work as a team and answer important calls. This demonstrates key skills that are transferable to the position you’ve applied for. Really get to grips with all past experiences and the skills, even if this was picked up through part time work. 


This section is one to look out for as it catches out even the best of us. Candidates often feel the need to list all outside interests, such as clubbing, eating out and shopping. While these may be your hobbies, only include them if they’re relevant to the position – for example, if you can use them to demonstrate your ability to work in a team or take your own initiative. Include anything that shows how committed, interested and skilled you are, and leave the rest out.  

Writing a successful CV is easy when you know how. Follow these tips, and you should soon start to feel confident in your abilities. DLC wish you the best of luck in your search for success.