3 Things You Must Do with Your CV to Land in the Yes Pile

How to get your opportunity at an interview

Josh Fletcher

By Josh Fletcher
June 26th, 2021 | 7 min read

Contents of Blog Post

  1. Introduction
  2. CV Formatting
  3. Providing Solutions
  4. Sell Yourself
  5. Summary
  6. About the Author


As part of a job application, your (Curriculum Vitae) CV is your first impression. The job market is so competitive these days that if your CV isn’t up to scratch then you’ll land yourself in the NO pile or MAYBE pile at best.  They are not the piles you want to be in, as more often than not they will not lead to an offer to interview.

A sloppy CV tells a story to the panel, from the very first glance they are shaping their image of you as a person and practitioner, it is human nature. Your job as the applicant is to provide them with the evidence required to formulate a positive image of you and begin to shape the lens through which they see you.

Think about this scenario through the lens of the employer. I once helped my line manager sift through 200+ CV’s for a job vacancy. If we spent 5 minutes per CV we would cover just 24 CV’s an hour and around 8 hours to complete the task. This was not going to happen as we both had busy weeks.  So, we looked for clear red flags, good/bad first impressions based on visual aspects of the CV, names we knew and what we read in the personal profile. That was how we created a YES, NO and MAYBE pile.

There are a series of checkpoints, that almost speak to the reader of a CV and tell miniature stories throughout. This article will de-mystify CV writing and discuss important points based on what your CV says to the employer about you.  The goal is for you to finish reading this article and have a whole sack full of tips and tricks to seriously upgrade your CV.

Your CV Must Be Formatted To Perfection

This section is the lowest of the low hanging fruit. These are the basics of a CV which are easy to get right or fix. Sloppy formatting refers to any or all these things:

  • Spelling and grammatical errors
  • Lack of consistency in formatting
  • A common example is the use of a full stop at the end of one bullet point and not at the end of another within the section or the CV itself
  • Font style which is not easy on the eye, or a font size not easily legible.
  • Text not aligned
  • Does not print well
  • What this tells the employer about you
    A well-formatted CV is the minimum standard expectation employers have, so be clear that it might not gain you any recognition.  Some employers will recognise the lack of errors and well laid out content, but not all will do. But if it is formatted poorly or there are glaring errors it will certainly stand against you.

    You can therefore reverse each of these messages a well or poorly formatted CV sends to the reader:

       ✖️       ✔️
  • This candidate lacks attention to detail. They may bring this into their work if I hire them.
  • This candidate has paid attention to detail. They will bring this into the role if I hire them.
  • This candidate didn’t get their CV proofread. They don’t check off the basics, are they a corner cutter?
  • This person does the basics well and doesn’t cut corners.
  • This candidate doesn’t care enough about this role.
  • This candidate cares about this role.
  • This candidate doesn’t look at their application as their first impression.
  • This candidate isn’t thinking about their application as their first impression.
  • This candidate didn’t print out a hard copy of their CV
  • This candidate did print out a hard copy of their CV
  • Top Tips

  • Use a template builder available for free in a word document download one from the internet
  • Use Grammarly to double-check your spelling, punctuation, grammar and sentence structure
  • Have multiple people proofread your application
  • There is a lot of industry-specific application support material out there. Track it down via a respected source and apply it to your application
  • Always print out a hard copy of your CV to check how it will look to the reader
  • Hire a professional to help you structure and format your CV, they should teach you exactly how to build your CV from scratch, so you have the skill to do so in future
  • Your CV Needs to Show How You Can Solve Problems The Employer May Have

    In every job specification, an employer will quite clearly layout what problems they have at their club or organisation. It is your job to show them with your CV that you have the skills to solve their issues.

    Here are some top tips which help the employer to know you are the solution to their issues:

  • The job specification will have listed what issues they have, usually in the key responsibilities or duties section
  • You must be very clear and signpost the reader towards the solution for each and every point in the job spec
  • An employer does not have the time to search through every CV in the pile to find answers to make it clear and explicit.
  • Here is a short example where I have taken the key responsibility directly from a job specification:
    Key Responsibility “Work with other members of the multidisciplinary team to improve performance through developing, implementing and evaluating strength and conditioning programs”.

    The Problem
    ‘This role requires different departments to work together to enhance performance. Programs need to be aligned with measurable outcomes. These programs include physical qualities associated with both strength and metabolic conditioning.

    Potential Response
    Collaborated with the medical department to create a return to training, play and performance protocol. This has resulted in a 13% reduction in time lost through injury, aligned physical evaluation metrics, and improved performance levels as measured positive involvements during match play.

    You need to try to say succinctly what happened, what was the outcome, and what performance impact it had to paint a picture of the scenario for the reader. You can use this to your advantage by framing the content to match the job spec. The employer wants to see a page of solutions so they can put you in the yes pile.

    Take The Opportunity To Sell Yourself Appropriately

    Selling yourself in your CV is not a sales pitch, it is simply showing the employer what you can offer them and the performance impact they can expect from you. When you are matching your solutions to the problems identified in the key responsibilities section of the job spec, you can add another layer to your response, you can sell yourself.

    Problem   ➡️ Solution   ➡️ Your impact   ➡️ Performance impact
    Your focus is on the final three aspects of this diagram. Providing your solutions, showing what your impact was and what the performance impact was of your input.  By being specific about what the outcome was, and the impact on performance, you are telling the story that your actions can impact performance for this organisation.

    What this tells the employer about you
    People get concerned that it comes across as cocky by stating the impact you have had in previous roles. It does not. The reality is that it shows that you have had a performance impact and that you can do the same for this club/organisation. Employers need to know that you can have a positive impact and the only way to show that before the interview is to do so in your application. You need to shoot your shot and tell people what you have done, just do so in a factual manner and use non-emotive/dramatic language and your message will be heard as you intend it to be.


    There is so much information out there on how to write a good CV that there is no excuse for creating a poor CV. However, a lot of the information out there will get your CV to an average level or maybe even as good as the best of the other applicants. But your goal is to land in the YES pile and separate yourself from the crowd.

    The priority is to make a good first impression and help the panel to create a positive image of you before the interview. You need to give them reasons to put you in the YES pile and not the NO pile. You can control that if you implement the strategies discussed above.

    Despite having laid out these tops tips for you, sometimes people need a little more support and to be confident they will land in the YES pile. Your CV is something you’ll need throughout your career, so it is worth giving it a professional upgrade as early in your career as possible. For some support with your CV, have a look HERE at the CV Overhaul service offered by Career Blueprint.

    We look forward to hearing how you get in with your upcoming applications.

    Josh Fletcher

    Josh Fletcher

    Josh is a Strength & Conditioning Coach with over 10 years industry experience. He has worked across multiple sports and nations and is previously worked as an EXOS Performance Manager on a tactical project. His particular areas of interest is coach development for the next generation of S&C coaches.

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