What should a CV look like in order to impress recruiters?

Charles BrecqueCharles Brecque
Last updated on:
November 23, 2022
Published on:
January 12, 2022

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If you are job hunting then you will likely be investing a lot of time in creating the perfect CV. CVs will give prospective employers a first impression of your work history and relevant skills for the new roles you are applying for. It is therefore important that you have all the right tools and ingredients to create a professional CV which will help you impress recruiters and secure job interviews. This article shares CV writing tips and answers what a CV should look like in order to make your job search fruitful.

What is a CV?

A Curriculum vitae (CV) is a document which summarises a person's employment history and certifications in order to demonstrate their suitability for a role to a potential employer. CVs are essential in job applications and help a hiring manager determine if a candidate has the relevant experience and key skills in order to succeed in the new role. Based on this initial review, recruiters will usually filter CVs and invite the best CVs to a first interview.

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter, also known as a personal statement is an opportunity for the candidate to give some background to their CV and explain why they are motivated for the role. Cover letters should be tailored to the job description to increase the likelihood of being offered a job interview. A cover letter can be a short paragraph at the top of your CV or a formal letter attached to the CV.

What will recruiters look for in your CV?

Hiring managers will look in your CV and cover letter for relevant work experience  which will increase your likelihood of being successful in the new role. Moreover, hiring managers will try assess if you are likely to fit in the company's culture and work processes based on your past experiences (e.g. ability to work remotely or in teams). A candidate's stage in their professional career and transferable skills will also contribute to the section process.

What to include in your CV

The best CVs are clear and tell a consistent story with a clear direction. This will make it easier for the hiring manager to understand how the proposed role will help the candidate reach their career goals. A good CV will therefore have a clear goal outlines in the personal statement and relevant section headings which highlight work experience and education in reverse chronological order. Candidates should summarise their career into key job titles and detail relevant work experience in bullet points. The size of the certifications and education section should also be tailored to the role and experience of the candidate. Finally, a CV should include key contact information such as an email and phone number in order to make it easier for the hiring managers to get in touch.

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What not to include in your CV

Recruiters have to scan through mountains of CVs which is why job applicants should only include relevant work experience and education in their CV. The information and hard skills should be objective and serve a valid purpose as they will otherwise be questioned by the hiring manager. The process of preparing a CV also gives the interviewer an opportunity to assess a candidate's reasoning process which is why you should not include elements which might make the recruiter assume your direction and intentions are not aligned with the role or do not fit with the potential employer. The CV format should also be easy to digest and your choice of font should be aligned with the company you are applying for. For example, Arial might be more appropriate than Times New Roman when applying to a modern or innovative company.

How to prepare a CV?

To prepare a great CV, you must first outline and prioritise your work experience based on the role you are applying for. Once your story has been crafted, you can use CV templates or CV examples to structure the experience into a CV. These options make it much easier to guarantee the quality of the format and CV look and feel. Another option for preparing CVs is to generate one automatically from your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn's CV generator can populate the information from your personal profile into the relevant sections of your CV at the click of a button.

What are the next steps?

After you have prepared and submitted your CV and cover letter, you might be invited to a job interview. If you provide adequate answers to the interview questions and fit in well with the culture of the company, you might go through additional steps of the employer's recruitment process before receiving a formal job offer. This can be made via an employment offer letter which will then be followed by an employment contract if the offer is accepted. Company policies and documents will then be passed on to the candidate for signature after the employment contract has been signed. Legislate is a great way to streamline the contract creation and management process in this critical phase of hiring and onboarding new employees. To get started, sign up to Legislate, read a tutorial or book a demo.

About Legislate

Legislate is a contracting platform where business owners can create contracts to help grow and develop their business. Legislate's employment offer letters and contracts are key in protecting your IP and Legislate's NDAs are crucial to ensure you can have conversations and partnerships to help develop your business and brand. Book a demo or sign up today to put the confidence back into contracting.

The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.

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