Hiring Wizard Insights


Top 7 things to look for in a CV

Sifting through tens, if not hundreds, of CVs can be a daunting task. So what are the key things to look for in order to quickly identify whether a candidate is worth progressing to the next stage of the recruitment process?

We’ve highlighted the top 7 things to help you identify the best candidates. 


1. A snappy personalised summary

cv-financeA great candidate will provide a really succinct summary of themselves and what they are looking for. A stand-out candidate will have personalised their CV and covering letter for the specific role being advertised.

This will demonstrate a real commitment for wanting the role and will illustrate the candidate is likely to have already undertaken a substantial amount of research of your organisation prior to submitting their CV.


2. Good formatting


A CV that is well formatted is far easier to read and indicates a high quality candidate who has put the time and effort into ensuring the reader will be able to extract key information quickly.

Despite being ideally suited for a job, a candidate who provides a poorly formatted CV is unlikely to get past the CV screening stage of the recruitment process if it's too hard or takes too long to identify their qualities.


3. Technical skills

A candidate's technical skills should be obvious from their CV and be specifically relevant to the role being applied for. These should be found within the job description.

For example, for a marketing role, the technical skills to look out for might include some of the following:

  • Development and implementation of a Strategic Marketing Plan
  • Strong understanding of online and offline marketing channels
  • Proven ability to track marketing campaigns
  • Demonstrable budget management skills and achieving a sound return on investment from the marketing budget

Clearly, these skills will not be relevant for a sales or finance role for example, so technical skills are specific to the role and should be clearly identifiable from a candidate’s CV.


4. Soft skills

finance-director-cvIn addition to technical skills, there are a set of softer skills that tend to be relevant and transferable across all roles. Again, these should be highlighted within the job description and their level of importance will vary by role.

Examples of soft skills could include: 

  • Strong communication and presentation skills
  • Excellent industry knowledge
  • Proven people management skills

A candidate’s CV should clearly stipulate what soft skills they have that will be relevant for the role.


5. Quantifiable Achievements


A top quality candidate will ensure their CV contains quantifiable achievements that really make them stand out. For example:

"In my current sales role, I achieved the following key objectives:

  • Exceeded my individual sales target by 20% across the last 2 years
  • Introduced a new sales process that reduced our sales literature costs by 10%”

Compare this to:

"In my current sales role, I regularly exceed my annual sales target whilst also being involved in a project to help reduce the cost of producing and sending out literature to clients.”

The first example provides very clear quantifiable achievements whilst the second example is far more generic and has poorer formatting - paragraphs of text are much harder to read than short bullet points.


6. Qualifications

Candidates Concept with Word on Folder Register of Card Index.A candidate’s CV should clearly outline their education and qualifications achieved to date. The role being applied for will likely dictate the level of qualification a candidate will be required to have.

It’s often a good idea for you to review this section first if specific qualifications are mandatory as it may enable you to quickly reject CVs of candidates that don’t have the relevant qualifications.

Qualifications can include any vocational or continued professional development courses undertaken and a candidate’s CV should clearly state what level and grade of qualification they have achieved, starting with the highest level and/or most recent.


7. Experience / Career History

Finally, when reviewing the candidate’s experience and career history, there are a number of things you can quickly identify to ascertain the candidate’s likely suitability.

Firstly, how many roles has the candidate had and how long have they been in each of those roles? If a candidate has moved roles quickly, it can be a red flag as it can indicate someone who gets unsettled quickly, or isn’t very good at the role, so moves on – neither of these are good qualities!

Secondly, has the candidate worked for more than one organisation? This may only be relevant for more senior roles but it’s an important factor in determining whether an individual will transition successfully into the culture of another organisation. If they’ve only worked for one business for many years, there is a risk of institutionalisation which may make transitioning to another organisation much harder.

And thirdly, what were the main achievements in each role the candidate has held to date? A great quality candidate will be able to identify their achievements and more specifically their contribution in obtaining those achievements, in every role they’ve had.

About Us

At Hiring Wizard, we are experts at providing fully branded and optimised advertising campaigns across all the major UK job boards and delivering significant cost savings for our clients. We also excel at CV searching and interview screening and take the hassle out of those initial recruitment stages so you can concentrate on only interviewing the best candidates. 

So if you want to improve the quality of candidates you receive, give us a call on 0161 696 8899 or email us on info@hiringwizard.co.uk

Download Your FREE 'Why Use Us?' PDF