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.

Hiring a Freelancer


At one time, when a business needed someone to do a job they had to hire a new member of staff. Then they could be faced with finding work for someone once the project they were hired for had finished or had to pay out redundancy if this couldn’t be done. But then the world of freelancers developed and suddenly there was a new option – hiring a freelancer to do a specific job for a specific period of time. So how do you go about hiring a freelancer?

Growth area

Going self-employed and becoming a freelancer is one of the biggest growth areas in the UK market with some 5 million people already having done so. This means businesses can access a wealth of talent on a ‘pay as you go’ type approach. For example, you might need a new website and want a web designer or you might need new content for an existing website. You can hire someone to do these specific jobs. You might also want someone more long term but not full time, say to write a weekly blog article or perform monthly system updates – again a freelancer can be ideal.

Then there is the financial side of hiring a freelancer. With the many options now for payments without actually giving out bank details such as PayPal, there is far less risk in the payment element. Many websites that freelancers use will also take and make the payment for you, giving you protection though they often charge for this. It also makes it official and easier to document for tax purposes plus most will use specialist accountants for contractors & freelancers to ensure everything is done correctly.

Getting the right person

If you advertise a job or look through people offering a service you require, there will always be plenty. So how do you choose the right freelancer from the crowds?

Websites that act as intermediaries between freelancers and clients, as mentioned, are a good idea to try. Most use a feedback system where customers can rate freelancers and gives you an idea of their standard of work. Many freelancers will have their own website but this may not be regularly updated as working for clients is more important than making their website look great – it often isn’t a source of business anyway. Recruitment companies also offer a similar service in their specific industry.

Look at the going rate for the job and pick someone who is sensible. Don’t always go for the cheapest option as this may result in cheap work – a combination of a sensible price and good feedback is a great indicator of a quality freelancer.

While a freelancer may not be a specialist in your area, you want someone who is willing to learn. So while they may not know much about your industry, their willingness to research whatever is needed and ask questions is another good indicator. Quality of communications is another element of this – if they can’t make sense when messaging with you, this might indicate a trying working relationships!

Finally, be upfront about what you need, your timescales and your budget. It saves a lot of time for both parties and quickly allows you both to see if you are a good fit for each other. Being cagey and vague isn’t a benefit for either of you.