5 Essential Things A CV Needs To Contain


In a job market with increasingly tough competition, the average employer only spends seven seconds looking at a resume (Forbes, 2017). That’s only 11% of a minute for someone to stand out from the crowd and while it might not seem fair, it’s the way it has to work in the fast-paced world of recruitment.

So, in a sea of resumes, what do you need to be looking for?

There are two main things any potential employer need to be asking when they read a resume – Can this person do the job? And will they fit in with the company?

A CV needs to be crystal clear when it comes to answering these questions.

Not only does this help you pick out the information you need quickly, it also tells you something about the person behind the resume. Clear, concise writing suggests a detail-orientated candidate who can produce accurate work that’s fit for purpose.

Focus on the responsibilities they’ve mentioned in their job history. This will help you determine whether the candidate has a proven ability to fulfil the job requirements. It can also give you a clue towards how well they would manage pressure – if the job has a large amount of responsibilities to keep track of and the candidate has only held low responsibility positions, they might not be able to handle the change of pace.

Remember to still look for personality! Experience and qualifications are important but at the end of the day, you’re hiring the person and not the piece of paper. Personal statements are always a good place to look to get to know a bit more about the candidate and gauge how well they would fit in with the company culture.

It’s not only key to ensure they mesh with the culture, but it could also give the chance to determined but less experienced candidates to shine.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the same is true of a CV layout - Its appearance can tell you how much effort someone has put into crafting it and that gives a pretty good indication of their enthusiasm for the job. A haphazard layout not only gives a bad impression, but can also demonstrate a low level of computer skill which could be key to the job role.

And finally, references! Have they listed their previous employer’s details on their CV? If they have, the chances are they believe they were successful in their last job and are happy for you to contact them to confirm this. Most job adverts now say that hiring will be subject to satisfactory references, so including the details not only shows pride in their previous performance, but also a naturally proactive nature!

Now, this list isn’t exhaustive and it’s always best when you get further into the recruitment process to tailor what you’re looking for in a CV to the details of the job description, however looking for these aspects during the initial rounds of shortlisting can drastically reduce the time spent on unsuitable CV’s and bring the best candidates into the next stage of recruitment.

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