A recruiters view on CV’s

When it comes to CV’s, each recruiter looks at a CV differently. We all have different preferences and respond positively to different things, so you’ll never please everyone all of the time, but these are things I look for when I review a CV.

My personal preference is to start with the oldest job first and work up to the present day. I like a CV to tell a story of a career; how a person has progressed and moved upwards or have specialised in a particular area. Good signs would be someone who can show continual progression and development, with each role being either a step up or growth in a specialist area.

Red flags would be people who have done the same job at several employers with little or no progression. I do look for longevity in a particular role, though. If someone moves jobs every couple of years, then would reflect negatively.

I check gaps in employment, and anything more than a month or two would be a question mark.

I would also be wary of a person applying for a job for which they were over-experienced. The risk in employing them is that they would be unlikely to stay and treating my vacancy as a stop-gap. They would also potentially get frustrated in my role given their over-experience. If they were looking to ‘downsize’ for health or personal reasons, then it needs to be made clear in a covering letter or opening statement.

Reasons for leaving are also interesting. It’s best to be upfront and honest to why you’ve left a role. Include them. The chances are that if you don’t and you are of interest, then I’ll ask you at some point anyway.

Be realistic in the roles for which you apply. No matter how passionate a person is, or how well presented their CV is, if a person is under-qualified or lacks the necessary experience, then I wouldn’t take a chance on them. The risk is just too high.

Don’t take things personally. Not all recruiters will look at every CV if they are inundated for a high volume role. They will stop once they have enough suitable candidates to meet their interview requirements. That might mean they miss the best candidate, but most of us don’t have the capacity to review every CV.


This blog was guest written by a friend who holds a senior role within a very high profile company. They recruit for roles across all levels of their business and have over 25 years of experience working through CV’s and interviewing.

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