What to Look for in a CV 

idea for examing a cv for a job application

When you are recruiting for a position, you can be inundated with CVs, all of which tell a story. But how do you search through these stories to find the one that matches up best with your business’ needs? A key is knowing what to look for in a CV and here we have some tips.


When dealing with CVs, it pays to have a process that you can repeat for other vacancies. For starters, don’t look at the CVs until after the closing date has finished. Then start with the easy stuff, such as weeding out the ones who don’t have the skills or qualifications you need – this can be anything from having a full driving license to industry specific qualifications, whatever you listed as essential for the job.

Next conduct a preliminary sweep of the CVs contents. Look for spelling and grammar, readability and the general details of the person such as their previous experience. At one time, it was a little frowned up to have a professional written CV – employers believed you should be writing it yourself. But in a lot of jobs, the ability to write a great CV has no bearing on the job applied for and the time and money used to get that perfect CV shows a form of commitment in itself. Using a CV writing service isn’t just a case of getting someone to rewrite your CV using posh language – it is an interview process with time needed to do properly.

Look for generic CVs that show the candidate hasn’t put any consideration into the process and just sent out their basic one-size-fits-all document. Candidates should put some consideration into the CV, whether written themselves or by a professional CV writing company. This means specific information aimed at the position in question, experiences that are targeted towards your business or industry and relevant information. Avoid those with lots of pointless information about what they did in a job – you want to know what they brought to the position.


When you listed the job, you will have also listed the essential and the desired qualities, experience and skills for the position. Once you have a pile of well written CVs that had the essentials in place, you can start looking at them in terms of the desirable qualities.

Look at their previous experience – is it what you need? How long have they been in their jobs? Do they move around a lot for no clear reason or is there signs of a steady progress whether with one company or a few?

Also look at information about the individual as a person, their hobbies and interests. While these aren’t crucial, it helps to get a feel for someone and to guide on their possible suitability to the environment you will be offering. You can also use this section to write tips for the interview process, bringing in a touch of the personal to help relax the interviewee. This often lets people show themselves in their best (or worst!) light and gives you a better insight into their suitability.