What employers need to see on your CV

CV expert Emma Alkirwi outlines what employers expect to see on your CV.

Curriculum Vitae (CV) on laptop


First impressions count – especially when you are applying for a new job.

Some positions can attract hundreds of applications. Impressing employers from the second they pick up your CV is critical to get to the next stage.

But there’s so much advice out there that it can be hard to know where to start. CV writing can feel overwhelming if you’ve been in one position for a while, or you’re returning to work after a break.

At The CV Guru, professional CV writing is our specialism – so we’ve got your back! Here are some key tips that will help your CV stand out in a sea of applications.

Your CV should have…

A succinct list of your experience

You don’t need to include every job you’ve ever had on a CV. Your CV should be two pages long – three maximum for more technical roles for if you’ve had an extensive career.

Don’t give each job the same amount of space either. Your most recent experience should be covered more in-depth than a job you left 10 years ago.

Keep your experience relevant to the role you are applying for. For example – if you are applying for a job as an HR Manager, employers aren’t going to be as interested in the HR admin job you had a while back.

Tangible examples of your accomplishments

If you want to stand out in a pile of application forms, employers need to see results. In fact, 34% of recruiters pass over CVs with no tangible results included.

Again, keep it relevant to the position at hand. What difference did you make in your previous roles?

A tangible example could be:
· Cutting costs by 23% in 12 months
· Improving team productivity by 36%
· Winning a big client which secured £15,000 in revenue.
· Improving customer satisfaction by 18%

For more information on adding key achievements into your CV, check out our blog post here.

Specific keywords included

ATS software is used to decide which applicants have the most relevant experience for a role. So when human eyes may not even see your CV at first, including the right keywords is essential.

Study the job description. What responsibilities and qualifications are they looking for? Include them in your CV where your experience matches up.

Your professional profile is the perfect place to include keywords. This is an introductory paragraph to who you are and what you bring to the table, found at the top of CV.

The more you show you understand what the role requires, the more likely you are to pass both the software and the recruiter checks – getting you one step closer to interview.

A clear layout

You only have eight seconds to grab a recruiter’s attention with your CV – so you need to make them count.

A clear layout will go a long way to making your CV memorable.

Split your CV into sections, such as:
· Contact Information
· Professional Profile
· Key Skills
· Career Summary / Work Experience
· Education

And use bullet points to highlight the most important information. Make it as easy as possible – it will help get your foot in the door! You can find out more about formatting your CV here.

A key skills section

The key skills section gives you the opportunity to highlight how you match the job requirements.

So study the job advert here and ensure the key skills required are mirrored in this section.

Remember that different companies use different language – so one advert may talk about Talent Management, but the other might say Recruitment and Selection.

If you have a technical position, you may wish to include both a technical skills section and a key skills section. Avoid cliches such as good timekeeping or highly organised. Keep them specific to the skills required of the job to stand the best chance of passing ATS and the recruiter’s initial sift.

Now that we’ve covered what an employer wants to see on your CV, let’s also cover a couple of things that they don’t!

Your CV should not have…


Any type of logo, graphic or photo is not scannable by ATS and should not be in your CV.

Dates of education

To avoid age discrimination, dates of education are no longer required on CVs. You may wish to include specific dates if you completed a relevant qualification recently. But saying the level of qualification and the subject will be enough.


References take up space on your CV that could be used more effectively. You only need references once you have progressed to the end of the application process. Including reference contact information in your documents could lead to people being contacted far too early. The last thing you want to do is annoy someone you need a reference from!

You can check out more things to avoid including on your CV here!

We hope that now you feel more confident in your CV writing skills, and you know what information you need to include to ‘wow’ prospective employers.

*Emma Alkirwi is the Managing Director of the CV Guru which is the leading service provider of professionally written CVs, LinkedIn Profiles, cover letters in the UK and they also provide specialist consultancy services.  If you need some more help, we’re here for you! In fact, statistics show that using a professional CV writing service can increase your chances of getting the job by 32%. So if you would like some help with your CV, Cover Letter or LinkedIn profile, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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