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20 Things Recruiters Want To See On Your CV

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We asked some of our recruitment consultants to tell us their key tips on what makes a good CV.

Here’s 20 things to keep in mind before sending out your CV:


1. Details & Numbers

The more detail you give about your work history the easier it is for a recruiter/hiring manager to understand your experience, and know if you are suited to a particular role.

Fiona Joyce, Recruitment Consultant, Office Support says “Noting ‘Administration’ for example isn’t enough, you need to include the type, volume, systems used, deadlines/timeframes – go into detail. For example, admin support could be basic paper work (scanning, filing, shredding) or it could be high level admin support (diary/calendar management, correspondence and document preparation, report writing etc.). Not going into enough detail is selling yourself short and letting the competition supersede you.”



2. Specific Timeframes

Hiring managers like to see exact timeframes on CVs. Dates on your CV should include month to month time frames, as opposed to year to year. Often people will avoid putting dates on a CV or will try to be vague about the dates. This can look suspicious to employers. It’s better to be honest and give reasons for any gaps instead of trying to hide them.




3. Achievements

It’s a good idea to include what you’ve achieved in your professional career. Awards and certificates are very impressive to hiring managers. However, they don’t always have to be job related awards, they can be personal achievements too e.g. completed a marathon, raised money for charity, served on a community or student committee etc. It’s good to show on your CV that you achieve goals outside of work.




4. Key Skills

The key skills area of your CV is very important. Alan McLoughlin, Recruitment Consultant, Insurance and Financial Services says, “Don’t just list your competencies. List your skills and beside each one, explain  how you gained that particular skill”.




5. Professional Development

If you’ve completed any online courses or have studied independently, please be sure to include this information on your CV. Hiring managers love to see this as it shows both an enthusiasm for learning as well as the ability to work off your own initiative.




6. Clarity & Structure

Structure your CV so it is easy to read. You can do this by:

  • Arranging your work history and education separately according to date and in chronological order. Keep education and work history in separate sections of the CV.
  • Don’t use borders or tables or strange fonts or pictures/images. Always apply in word format, in standard text form.
  • The formatting should be uniform and consistent
  • If you’re using bullet points, they should all be the same style and alignment
  • You should be consistent in your formatting. If you’re using italics font for each job title and bold font for the name for each  organisation you worked for, make sure you do this  consistently.




7. Leave Out Graphics & Images

Leave out fancy graphics, complicated formatting and decorative pictures where possible. They just tend to make it more difficult for employers to read. Keep things simple, clear and detailed.




8. Visa/Employment Permit Status

For foreign Nationals your visa Status is crucial! You must specify what visa you have and if there is an expiry date.




9. Professional Profile – Don’t waffle

Your professional profile should be at start of your CV. Use this section to outline your technical expertise, years of industry experience and qualifications etc. Try to avoid saying things like, “I am hard-working and reliable”.





10. Bullet Points

Always use bullet points where you can. In your duties section and skills section put the information in bullet points rather than a paragraph. This makes it a lot easier to read and for hiring managers to see quickly and clearly what experience you have.




11. Contact Details

You may just assume that sending your CV via email is enough for an employer to contact you but often CV’s get forwarded around and saved on hard drives so the original email you sent could get lost along with your contacts. Always put your email address and contact number on your CV.



12. Targets Achieved

Someone with a track record of achieving goals really impresses managers. Setting and achieving targets shows self-motivation and determination. If you have achieved targets in your work experience make sure to include them in your CV.




13. Practical Skills

Make sure to list any practical skills like having a driving license, manual handling certificate or fork lift licence. These skills could be really attractive to an employer, depending on the role you are applying for.




14. Tailor your CV to every Job

Tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for. Don’t regurgitate the same CV for every job. Use the job specifications to guide what you should be mentioning on your CV. 




15. Extra-Curricular Activities

If you play sport or music etc. (and you have space on you CV), include your hobbies because they can make you stand out.

Alan McLoughlin, Recruitment Consultant, Insurance and Financial Services said “I once read a CV that had “I enjoy hill walking” 3 times. Don’t use irrelevant hobbies when you can use that space for something more useful”.




16. Personal Details – Not too Personal

It’s good to show your personality through your CV and give the hiring manager a sense of who you are but some personal details are too personal for your CV. Avoid putting your relationship status on your CV e.g. married, divorced. It’s irrelevant information and it could affect you negatively.




17. Be Aware of Length

The CV is a recap, not a life story. Keep it brief but comprehensive. Two pages is the norm, but three is OK. Conor Ryan, Recruitment Consultant, Construction says,

“If you’re running out of space, you’re either being too specific and waffling or you’re going too far back in your experience. The rule of thumb is that you don’t need to detail roles any further back than 10 – 15 years. Your cut off point will depend on how many roles you’ve had.”




18. Balance the Info

Make sure you’re giving the right amount of information for each role. You’d expect to see more duties listed for a role that you’ve spent more time in. Always keep the information on your CV proportionally balanced.




19. Tools & Systems

You should outline which tools/software you’ve worked with previously as most HR managers will run a keywords search so it is important they are listed on your CV.




20. Double Check

Always double-check that the information provided is correct. It’s the last step because it’s always the last thing you do, but it doesn’t make it the least important! You could have followed all the above steps correctly but you left a typo on the first page all because you forgot to double check. Following all the steps but forgetting to double check it could cost you a job. Always double check!


We hope you found these tips helpful. If you think you need help with your CV or job searching, you can upload your CV to our website and let one of our 125 specialist recruitment consultants give you the help you need.

Posted by Clare Reynolds on 2 May 2018

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