What Have You Been Doing? What Recruiters Want to Know and Look For in Your CV

Take a look again at that CV of yours. Do you notice any gaps that signify inactivity? Looking at the things that impress recruiters in a CV will help you get your CV fine-tuned to perform better when you submit it for job applications.

Recruiters Don’t Have All the Time in The World

At the most recruiters can only glance at a CV for some seconds to determine if the CV is worth being shortlisted for the vacancy. If the CV passes through the scanning level it gets shortlisted and penned down for more detailed and holistic viewing later on in the hiring process.

The problem most people have is that their CV is not packaged to grab the attention of the recruiter within seconds and make it pass the first hurdle.

Where Does a Recruiter Look in a CV?

Your Career Highlights/Summary

First if the job is for experienced mid or top level positions the recruiters will want to see a job highlight or summary section immediately below personal details that will capture the important highlights, achievements and essence of the candidate’s career so far. This helps them picture the kind of candidate you are and what you have been capable in your career so far.

Educational Qualifications

Next recruiters quickly glance through the educational qualifications to make sure you have the minimum educational requirements for the job position. Most times the institutions attended and academic qualifications acquired (eg B.Sc. Chemistry) are enough to satisfy the recruiter

Work Experience

The section that recruiters dwell more on (especially for jobs that require some amount of experience) is the work experience section. Here they want to see you are or have been very active in activities, responsibilities and work that are related and very useful to the job they are advertising.

You don’t need to make this section full of long but useless information. For each past position you have held or past activities that can pass as relevant work experience make sure you outline major tasks, achievements you made in no more than five or six bullet points.

Avoid filling up the duties and responsibilities with everyday sentences that do not drive home you achievements to the recruiter. Phrases like “I received customer complaints daily” will not impress a recruiter. They want to see in five or six major lines the achievements, outstanding duties that you successfully completed during each previous work experience. Using numbers, figures and statistics will better drive home the point and impress any recruiter rather than putting down general phrases that are highly repetitive. An example below;

Work Experience
Penstone Communications Ltd May 2010 – July 2012
Customer Service Executive
• Resolved over 1000 customer issues satisfactorily within the period without referring any to senior management
• Introduced and managed the online real time response chat application that increased speed of response to customer enquiries by 40%
• Was key in the initial recruitment and training of the first 10 man customer service team to meet the company’s expansion

Work experience sections like the sample above does not dwell on frivolities and sentences that do not have impact rather it pushes out figures and hard facts that will make the recruiter able to picture and understand how well you handled your past work. You give them the real, verifiable data they become more impressed with your CV and there will be greater chances of your CV getting shortlisted and you getting invited for an interview.

Competencies and Skills

Next the recruiters look at your competencies and skills. It is important that you do not list skills that are not definite such as ‘Ability to work under pressure,’ ‘Ability to relate with people’ These are all overused phrases. Make a list of relevant skills you have that you think will be good for the current position you are applying for.

A good list of skills and competencies will be direct to the point, relevant to the job you are applying for and easy to itemize. An example;

• Familiar and very good with Windows NT environment
• Skilled in Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing
• Proficient in use of Microsoft Office Applications
• Good oral and written communication skills
• Great interpersonal relations skills

Professional Certifications and Training

For many job positions recruiters might also want to look at your professional memberships/certifications and professional training/workshops undergone.

Getting these sections right as directly as possible and cutting out phrases and sentences that are more or less useless in convincing recruiters will help you create a CV that will always get shortlisted.
Now you know what recruiters look for. Take another look at that CV of yours.

About Paul

Paul Eze is the Co-founder and CEO at NGCareers. He is an avid writer. Connect with Paul on Twitter

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