19 September 2014
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What employers look for in a CV

Make a great first impression by presenting yourself in a confident and courteous manner. You only need common sense, a little extra thought and preperation to make that first impression not just good but great.

Hiring manager use a certain screening techniques and procedures during the recruitment process. On this page we will try to give you an idea of what human resource officers look for in a CV. Bear in mind that they will typically only have up to two minutes to quickly scan through any resume. Work hard on ensuring that the quality of your written words in your CV and the structure of your covering letter are to the highest standard.

The main points that can impress a potential employer are:

Communications skills
Effective communication means relating your message to other people clearly. This is one of the most valued personal skills a candidate can have. Do this by making your CV interesting, well written and easy to read. It should be well put together and clear, thereby showing they have excellent written as well a oral skills.

CV layout
Clearly show your employment history by laying it out in neat and easy to find sections with clear headings and bullet points to emphasis areas of expertise.

Any relevant experience
Providing evidence of experiences that are related to the competencies required. Highlight those skill sets most relevant to the job.

Related academic qualifications
Listing educational achievements that are related to vacancy.

Market or product knowledge
Having in-depth experience of how the industry operates or of a specific product or service that the employer supplies. Knowledge of competitors is also a plus.

Problem solving capabilities
Give examples of how you resolved or found solutions to difficult scenarios. Applicants should show that they are achievers, who have the drive to meet goals.

Planning and organisational skills
Having the ability to gather information, analyse results, monitor performance and plan ahead is a major advantage.

Being specific
For instance mentioning that you I increased sales of product x by 27% during a 3 month period, or I saved our company 2000 by changing suppliers for office stationary.


What employers dislike in a CV:

  • Lack of relevant experience.
  • A candidates previous career history is in a different industry or sector.
  • Having very few relevant academic qualifications.
  • Badly written or laid out CV where information is difficult to find. For instance use of cartoons or extravagant colours.
  • Not demonstrating relevant skills or competencies.
  • Poor communication skills in their CV or covering letter.
  • A lack of initiative or responsibility.
  • Waffling and including unrelated data.
  • Being repetitive.


Related topics:

Personal qualities that employers look for in candidates

Targeting your CV at specific jobs

What not to put in your CV

Why CVs are rejected


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