What do employers and recruiters look for in a CV?

Need to write an attention grabbing CV that still highlights your skills and experience? Hiring managers and recruiters don’t always have the time to read every CV they receive, so they often just scan for the ones that stand out. Make sure yours is one of the ones to progress to interview.


In order to make an immediate impact, your CV will need to communicate the following information:
  • Results and achievements
Hiring managers love to see results, so if you achieved above your target as a sales manager, for example, make sure you state your targets as amounts or percentages and demonstrate how you overachieved. This is the most important part of your CV and what will differentiate you from others.
  • List of responsibilities
Tailor your CV to every job that you apply for; it’s vital that the achievements and responsibilities you include in your CV are relevant to the job on offer. Although you need to clarify your remit, it’s important that your CV provides more than just a list of tasks you’ve undertaken – explain how you’ve added value.
  • Past work experience
Your CV will be scanned for relevant past work experience. Ensure your experience, whether six months in one role or four years in another, comes across as consistent and relevant to the job you’re applying for. Be clear where you added value and your exact contribution to any high profile projects.
  • Skills developed
Ensure you include all relevant skills gained from past roles. Your skills should naturally complement your experience and will ultimately illustrate your suitability for the job on offer.
  • Training and education
Highlight relevant educational certificates, particularly when they’ve been listed as essential or desirable on the selection criteria. If you’ve undergone any special training or development programmes that could help you stand out from other candidates, ensure they’re prominent in this section.


Once you’ve got the important information detailed, your CV needs to look, feel and read well in order to grab the attention of a hiring manager or recruiter quickly and effectively. Ask yourself the following:
  • Is it easy to read?
The layout of your CV should be clear and consistent, containing only one font type (bold can be used to highlight). Use bullet points to outline skills, achievements, responsibilities etc. rather than rambling sentences.
  • Is it consistent?
Ensure sure 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’ve included.
  • Will readers understand the lingo?
Ensure you include instantly recognisable keywords throughout your CV. Avoid excessive jargon and be mindful that the person reading it may not be an industry expert, but they will know what to look out for.
  • Is it easily accessible?
Your CV should be saved in a format that doesn’t require downloading software to view. Word docs are usually the safest bet. Also, make sure that when you save your CV you include your name in the saved title – that way the hiring manager doesn’t have to trawl through digital documents to find you.
You may possess all the desired skills and experience to excel at a role, but if you haven’t highlighted them clearly in your CV; you may fall at the first hurdle in being considered for the job you’ve applied for.
Now you’ve fixed up your CV, take the next step – browse Michael Page jobs and apply today.