What employers and recruiters look for in a CV
Your CV needs to grab your readers' attention within seconds of them picking it up; if you are to stand any chance of progressing to the job interview stage.
Recruiters and hiring managers can receive hundreds of applications for a role and sometimes only have time to scan CVs before deciding whether to progress to a face to face meeting with you.
Below are some hints on how to create impact and grab your readers’ attention
- Tailor your CV to each particular job that you apply for. One of the worst mistakes you can do is make reference to another employer in your application. It shows no interest and lack of attention to detail.
- Job titles and responsibilities highlighted in your CV out to be relevant (if not a direct match) for the job on offer. Although you need to clarify your remit, it’s important than your CV offers more than just a list of your responsibilities.
Recruiters will scan your CV for the right kind of experience. Ensure your experience, whether three months in one role or five years in another, comes across as consistent and relevant to the job you are applying for.
- Hiring managers love to see results. Be clear on your key achievements in the positions you have held. Highlight where you added value and your exact contribution to any high profile project.
Make sure you state your targets as amounts or percentages, and demonstrate how you have overachieved.
- All relevant skills gained in previous roles ought to be highlighted. Your skills will complement your experience and should ultimately illustrate your suitability for the job on offer. Specify relevant educational certificates, especially if they have been listed as essential or desirable on the selection criteria.
Once you have got the details right, your CV will need to look, feel and read well if it is going to grab the attention of a hiring manager or recruiter quickly and effectively. To do this, make sure you pay attention to the following details:
- Easy to read – Ensure the layout of your CV is clear and consistent, containing only one font type (bold can be used to highlight) and using bullet points to outline skills, achievements, responsibilities etc. rather than rambling sentences.
- No inconsistencies – Ensure your CV runs in clear, reverse chronological order and that there are no unexplained time lapses or inconsistencies regarding responsibilities you held or achievements you have included.
- Relevant language – Ensure you include instantly recognisable keywords throughout your CV. Avoid excessive jargon and be mindful that the person reading it may not be a technical or industry expert, however they will know what to look out for.
- Format and label – Ensure your CV is formatted in such a way that the recipient will be able to open it easily – no hiring manager wants to download software to view a CV. Also, make sure that when you save your CV you include your name and date i.e. Naomi-Mbogua CV, October 2016 - in the saved title.
You may possess all the desired skills and experience to excel at a role, but if do not document them clearly in your CV; you may fall at the first hurdle in being considered for the job you have applied for.
Find jobs to apply for here.
Note that you can include a covering letter page in your CV document when you submit an application.