How to get an interview everytime: Insiders guide to CV preparation

Published : 04/27/2019 06:18:29
Categories : Career Coaching

How to get an interview everytime: Insiders guide to CV preparation



Applying for a job is never easy. Especially, if you have not searched for a job for a few years, you are entering the job market for the first time, or you are looking to move to the UK. By being new to the UK job market or being out of the job market, it can be a barrier. This article will provide you with the tools needed to make yourself completive, make your CV stand out, and help you receive your dream job by removing the hidden barriers that can block you.

A CV alone will not get you the job. However, the CV will be the document a recruiting manager will make their decision to progress you to an interview and it may be used, after the interviews to help determine who is ultimately offered the job.

CV Format:


Length: No more than two typed pages

Font: Easy to read fonts. This is typically fonts like Arial, Calibri, Veranda or Times New Roman. Whist creative fonts may highlight your personality and you may believe it will help your CV to stand out, it won’t. 

Font Size: This is difficult one to answer fully. Ideal size is 10 – 12. Anything smaller will become difficult to read and anything larger it can create the impression you don’t have relatable job skills.

White Space / Spacing: White space is the area on your CV that has no text. Spacing should be 1 space for each paragraph and double space between each paragraph.

Colour: If you are printing off your CV and mailing it then the paper should be white, off-white, manila, or slight grey colour. Coloured type of papers like green or pink when viewed may make the text difficult to read.

Text colour should always be black.

If you are emailing your CV then your background colour should be white or slightly off white.

File Format: Read the Job description carefully since the description may state preferred file format. If no format is specified, then it is generally acceptable to email it as a Word document or PDF.

Margins: 1” all around is acceptable. However, you may need to make some minor modifications to get your information to fit. However, you should not beyond 0.75” all around. This is because if the recruiter prints off your CV they may have parts cut off and printed on other pages, which will make your CV difficult to review.

Spelling and Grammar: Attention to detail is the primary reason why I will reject a CV. A CV loaded with spelling mistakes, poor grammar, using text-ease, or bad sentence structure will not influence me to interview them. For me, failure to review a CV before sending makes me question the type of employee they will be if they cannot take the time to do a quick grammar and spell check.

CV Sections:


I know, being an American ex-pat there is a difference between a resume and curriculum vitae (CV). A resume is a 1 – 2-page summary of your skills and experience. In the United States, a CV is used by professionals and academics that highlight career work that includes awards, publications, presentations that they have done, and seminars attended. This can mean a CV can be several pages long.

In the United Kingdom, a CV is the term used instead of resume. Even though the term CV is used instead of resume, it is important to note there can be some differences.

Below are the sections every CV submitted in the United Kingdom needs. Depending on your experience, the sector you are applying and the role there may be other requirements.

Contact Information:


This should be placed as the first thing at the top of the first page and should contain the information on how to contact you. Typically, this will include your name, address, phone number and email. Your email address should be professional, like your name.




A profile a very short and concise summary of your key experiences that relate to the role being recruited. Typically, a profile is no more than 2 – 3 lines. Placed under your contact information.

Work History:




This needs to be a comprehensive work history covering jobs for at least the last 10 years. You will need to note any gaps in it with a brief explanation. If you have worked for more than then 10 years then you should include it.

If you employer asks you to complete a job application too and the application asks for your job history then you will need to do a comprehensive history with gaps.

Information to include


This is the place on your CV the recruiting manager will focus much of their time. Before entering the information for your work history, take the time to read the job description then match your experience to the job being advertised.


Sending a generic CV will not get you the interview. For me, when I review a CV, if the applicant has not demonstrated they have read the job description then I will reject their CV. This means the CV must be tailored to the role. Some people believe it is okay to overstate what they did to get the role. It may get you the role but if you do not have the skills required, then it will likely lead to dismissal for falsifying your application.


Likewise, a CV loaded with punchy keywords like managing, leading, managing stakeholders, and developing may get you past the screening software. However, when it is reviewed by a human and there is no detail about what you did then it is likely your CV will be rejected.


Finally if you have done relevant volunteering work then you can include it here too.


Placement of Job History in the CV:


There are two theories on this. If you have a developed work history then it should come after your profile. However, if you are just entering the job market or trying to move into a different field then work history could come after your skills.




This is not your education or training that you have undertaken. In this section, you list your skills as it relates to the job being recruited being as concise and detailed as possible. In this section you will include both your soft-skills and hard-skills with a focus on your hard skills.

Soft-skills are skills that are personable and may not always be easy to teach. Examples of soft-skills include:

·         Negotiating

·         Time Management

·         Organising

·         Leading

·         Communication

Hard Skills are quite varied but include examples, such as:

·         Cost / Benefit analysis

·         Copying

·         Typing

·         Filing

·         Making Change

·         Helping Customers

In this section if you have done any speaking at seminar, led any training, or done any presentations for large groups then you will want to include it here.

As for placement on your CV, this will depend on you. If you feel your skills are your selling point, then this should follow your profile. Also, if you are entering the UK job market for the first time, re-entering it, or trying to enter a new employment sector then you will want to consider placing before your job history. The amount of skills you have that you want to include should be driven by the job description and your job history. Ideally, if you have an extensive job history then this section should only include a few concise skills that relate to the role. However, if your job history in the UK is lack then you will want to focus more on this section

Education / Training:


Typically, this comes at the end of your CV. It should include any relevant training you have taken, any university, high-school (US residents applying for UK jobs), A-Levels, GCSE results. This should be a small section highlighting the most relevant information.

Next Step


Brighter Tomorrow cannot make guarantees about being interviewed or being success with your application. Nonetheless, Brighter Tomorrow for a small fee can review your CV and provide general advice.




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