What Recruiters Look For In A CV

HR & Recruitment
September 17, 2021

Let's have a look at what they're looking for most from their candidates.

Short and Sweet

1 - 1½ Pages Long

The first thing a recruiter notices when scanning over a candidate's resume is the length of it.

If they immediately see that you've got a 2-3 page CV, chances are they won't be massively impressed. More often than not it indicates to them that you've written too much information, and a lot of it won't be relevant.

When you think about how many CVs both recruiters and employers have to read, they're not going to want to read 3 pages worth every time. They want to find out as much about you as possible, in as little time as possible. So deliver your message as concisely as you can!

So, if your CV is longer than it needs to be, we strongly encourage you to make revisions and reassess what you've decided to include. The most important element is that it is, throughout, pertinent to the role you are applying to.

This brings us onto another very important factor of your application.


Make it Personal

Tailor It To The Role

A common reason for CVs being rejected is a lack of personalisation. Recruiters are especially looking for a candidate's application to be tailored to the role they're applying for. In fact, around 63% of recruiters are looking for this from job seekers.

As aforementioned, if your CV is too long then it suggests that you haven't been specific enough about the open position and might have rambled on a bit. Instead of taking up space with previous jobs or qualifications that are completely unrelated to your application, make sure you only talk about the fundamentals

Address Hiring Manager

In addition to this, it's a good idea to add a personal touch to your application by addressing the hiring manager by name. This humanises the process, and suggests that you've actually bothered to modify your application for them and that they aren't just another company you're looking to work for.

It also starts them off with a good impression and makes them want to actually keep reading.

Attention to Detail

Don't Be Sloppy

When taking the time to read your CV, recruiters expect to see a certain level of written skill.

Nowadays with tools like spell check and Grammarly, there's no excuse to be having spelling mistakes and grammatical errors all over the shop.

If your CV does include these small mistakes, it can actually reveal more about you than you think. It may make you come across as lazy or sloppy, and suggests you don't have enough respect for the job application to make sure it's perfect and to a high professional standard.

Remember, you're setting the tone for how you'd be as an employee and this is the very first impression. Be meticulous.

Showcase Yourself To The Max

List Your Skill Sets First

Common knowledge when writing a CV is that we should put our job experience in reverse chronological order first. Surprisingly, 41% of recruiters are actually looking for skill sets to be listed first.

This might be because they want to quickly understand what you have under your belt and what you could bring to the table at their company, and if the skills you possess are even needed for the open position.

Dazzle them with everything you have to offer and then some!

External Links

If you're an individual with more to showcase than just job experience and qualifications, you might want to include links to evidence this.

For example, if you're a creative of some kind you might have a portfolio to share, or if you're an influencer you might want to share your social media channels, blog posts or website. If you curate video content you could even link to your YouTube channel.

Basically, anything that reveals something different about you is a major key! You want to stand out from the crowd, especially if there's a long queue of people waiting to get the same job as you. People have layers, and so it's understandable to feel like you can't refine who you are down to a resume.

Attach A Cover Letter

Including a cover letter alongside your CV is crucial. It allows both recruiters and employers to develop a better understanding of who you are and your suitability for the position. More often than not, your CV will get tossed aside if it's unaccompanied.

We touched more on how to write a compelling cover letter in our Ultimate Guide to Changing Careers. Even if you're not changing careers, the tips listed in the post apply to anyone that just needs a hand with their cover letter.

Still Feeling Lost?

If you're still struggling with writing your CV, or feel like your current CV just isn't landing you the opportunities you want and deserve, we can help you out. Who better than the professionals, right?

Get in touch with us for a chat and find out what we can do for you.

Want to hear more top tips? Looking to fill a role, or maybe you want to know more about careers at Vertex?  

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