CV writing – what recruiters want to see on a CV

UPDATED JULY 2020

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Your CV is one of the most important documents in your life, and it needs to sell you and your skills accurately and convincingly. However, many people struggle to condense their work history into an easily accessible and succinct document, but that is precisely what it needs to be; most hiring managers will make their first assessment based on a quick glance, and so key information needs to stand out. Here are some key pointers to what recruiters are looking for:

Contact details

This may seem obvious, but it is astonishing just how many CVs we see that don’t include a mobile number and email address. Recruiters will not be able to take your CV forward if they don’t know how to contact you!

Your profile

Condense the key points into a short paragraph, outlining your capabilities, aims and key achievements in a few sentences. The key point here is to keep it brief, and to avoid clichés. Hiring managers will scan your CV quickly, and will not take the time to read though chunks of text, and they are not looking for generic buzzwords.

Your employers

Include a brief description of the firms you have worked for. This is particularly important if your past employers are not household names.

Your roles

Use bullet points to explain each role. These are easier to scan through, and readers will reach the important points faster.

Your achievements

Include your achievements under each role, ideally under a separate heading to make them easier to find. These should be quantifiable if possible, i.e. saved xxx percent or grew FuM by xxx percent.

Style

Keep an impersonal, professional tone throughout, and avoid using I, my or me. Above all, make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes!

Older roles

Your most recent roles are the most important (and should be presented first – always present roles in reverse chronological order). You should therefore give more detail on your current role than on roles held a long time ago.

A steady work history

Too many moves too quickly will count against you. One or two quick moves in an otherwise solid career should not be a problem, as everyone understands that circumstances sometime interfere in the best laid plans. However, these moves need to be the exception rather than the rule. This is of course not something you can change after the event, but it is worth bearing in mind before moving jobs – a steady work history is greatly valued by most hiring managers, as it shows you are capable of staying and succeeding in a role long-term.

Interests

This is a good place to show a bit of personality, and also to list any extra-curricular achievements.

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