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Communication skills for CVs and interviews

On a CV or during an interview, you only have one chance to impress. Here's how you can make the most of it by learning seven key Cs to communication.

Improve your communication skills for CVs and interviews

article-image-640x360 communication-skills

Communication is a skill everyone has, but it's one that's hard to master.

When submitting a CV or going to an interview, it may be the most important skill you use. You might have a variety of other skills, qualifications and experience. But if you're not able to speak about these clearly and convincingly, you'll hurt your chances.

Don't worry, we're here to make sure that doesn't happen! Brush up on the seven Cs and you'll communicate with ease. Let's look at each in more depth.


Make sure your message gets through loud and clear. Keep your sentences short, use simple language and avoid jargon.

Recruiters look through a lot of CVs, they'll appreciate one written in plain English that's easy to read. In an interview, speak clearly and clarify anything you think you may have said in a confusing way.


Your message should be correct and factual.

For CVs, always check your spelling and grammar. Recruitment site Reed surveyed 300 UK recruiters. More than half said poor spelling and grammar is their top application turn-off. Job search engine Adzuna reviewed over 267,000 UK CVs and found that 87% had at least one error.

If just 13% of people are submitting error-free CVs, you'll really stand out from the crowd if yours is well written!

In an interview, try not to embellish your skills, knowledge or experiences. Interviewers may ask follow-up questions that could make you look silly if you're not able to back up what you've said with an example or more detail.


Make sure you're giving all the relevant information. It'll help the recipient of your message understand what you're trying to say.

For your CV, make sure you've included everything you need. In interviews, listen carefully to a question so you can answer it fully.


Support your points with facts, figures and examples. This'll give more authority to your message.

If you list a skill in your CV or talk about it in an interview, think of a time you had to use it. Share the example as proof of you putting the skill into practice.


The fewer words you can use to get across what you're saying, the better. It helps the recipient understand

your message and shows you know what you're talking about.

Make sure your CV is short and to the point. During an interview, stick to answering the question you're asked. Basically, try not to waffle!


Your message should be easy to follow. Knowing how to structure your points can make a huge difference in how they're received.

In your CV, use headings and bullet points to organise information. For competency-based interviews, try the STAR method for answering questions:  

  • Situation: Give background information or context  
  • Task: Describe the task or challenge you faced  
  • Action: Explain the actions you took  
  • Result: Describe how it ended, what you accomplished and what you learned


Show that you understand your audience. Considering their feelings and viewpoints can help you connect with them. Be positive towards their point of view and tailor your message with it in mind.

For example, if you're applying for a role in renewable energy, you could use your CV or cover letter to share that you have an interest in this area.

At an interview, ask questions that show you understand the organisation and want to know more.