What do employers want to see on a CV?
Before you can apply for a job, it’s important that you understand what makes a good CV. Alright, it might seem like an obvious given – but it’s the key ingredient in what makes your overall offer stand out to a potential employer, so getting it right is half the battle.
Here at Timberseed, we are specialists in nurturing and recruiting new graduates, no matter your level of experience – and we are always on the look-out for raw talent.
We actively work with young professionals and graduates to help them land their dream careers and secure graduate roles. As recruitment experts, our team understands how important CVs are for landing graduate roles, which means we know what employers want like the backs of our hands.
Listen, we know a lot about the challenges – and also the huge potential – that new graduates face when searching for graduate roles within SaaS, Edtech and Fintech industries. Having worked with hundreds of graduates over the years to help land their desired graduate position, we know how daunting this process can be.
So we’ve broken it down into a few simple things to bear in mind when penning your magnum opus – sorry, Curriculum Vitae.
So, without further ado, here’s our guide on what makes a good CV.
What makes a good CV?
At Timberseed, we have an exclusive database consisting of a wealth of companies that we source a host of talent for – so rest assured, we know what they want to see from hiring candidates.
Knowing what to put down on your CV and how to produce one effectively is crucial to your success, meaning a well-written CV could mean the difference between getting an interview for your desired position or having to go back to the drawing board.
It’s undoubtedly the most crucial resource you have in your quest to land a new job role!
Think of it as a personal form of advertising that promotes yourself and your abilities to an employer. A bit like a billboard you can pop in a filing cabinet.
But whichever way you look at it, a CV is extremely important – and without an appropriate one, you may not even be considered for a role, never mind getting invited for job interviews.
The importance of your CV layout
As much as a CV is important, simply having one is not enough to impress an employer.
Sure, it’s a piece of paper or an email attachment – not a modelling competition – but it can come down to looks!
Even if everything written down on your CV is exceptional and implies that you are the perfect candidate for any role, if the layout is unappealing, then you could instantly be disapproved of by many employers.
That’s right, even the layout of your CV is an important aspect of what makes it a good one or not.
No matter what information you’re considering putting on your CV, you should make absolutely sure that every word is useful, economical and will actually appeal to the employer in question.
The information that you consider most desirable to an employer should be listed at the very top of the CV to ensure it grabs their attention and does not get missed.
This will create a good first impression, and as your Nan always says, those first impressions count.
Placing less useful information – or worse, absolute irrelevant facts – at the top of the CV could put an employer off instantaneously and result in your CV winding up in the recycling bin.
Making this information stand out is essential to ensuring that your CV is accepted because companies may have a large number to review from prospective candidates.
To ensure the employer sees the most crucial information that is relevant to the position, a strong CV could utilise formatting features like colour and layout.
Keep your CV concise: emphasise the highlights only
Be your own editor – and become your own best friend.
It’s a good idea to revise your CV each time you send it, so that you can convince the prospective employer that you are the absolute best fit for the position.
Edit your CV to highlight the characteristics they’re seeking – after carefully reading the job posting, of course -and taking into account the company’s top priorities for a candidate.
It’s a good idea to review sample CVs for your industry and even the position you’re applying for, before you start writing your own.
This will provide you with a general idea of the layouts, terminology, and design that people frequently utilise, as well as the information they choose to emphasise at the top of the page.
Being concise is key to convincing a recruiter or employer that you are the perfect person for filling a vacancy.
An employer may only look at CVs very briefly if they have received a lot of applications for the role, so they might not spend a lot of time deciding whether or not the candidate is worth keeping on.
Remember that time is precious, especially for employers. So you should make certain that every sentence on your CV establishes you as the ideal candidate for the position.
What do employers look for in a CV, exactly?
When hiring someone to fill a job vacancy, employers are looking out for certain things – some of which you may have stashed in your skill toolbox over time and some of which you might not have even thought about.
Writing a CV is not always straightforward, simply because of how specific they are in nature.
But regardless what role or sector you’re applying within, remember the basics: a strong CV should include your experience, key skills, achievements, education and goals.
First of all, keep in mind who will be reading your CV when you create it. Write it with your ideal position or industry in mind. If you are applying for a SaaS or Edtech role, for example, place a great deal of emphasis on previous sales experience or link in knowledge of the educational sector or Edtech itself that could be helpful. Even if they aren’t directly related on first glance, your transferable skills could help you work effectively in a certain role.
As we touched on previously, all your information should be easy to read. Make sure the layout is consistent and clear throughout by using the same font type and size, as well as making use of bullet points for different sections.
As a golden rule, a quality CV should be as concise as possible in describing your interests and any work experience, including duties and achievements.
The ideal approach to achieve this is to write your CV in bullet point format before expanding – and, as an extra tip, use sentences that begin with a verb.
For even more insider tips, you can take a look at the collection of CV advice and resources on our website today.
Your CV should begin with a profile that acts as an executive summary detailing who you are and your background (education and experience), as well as your future goals going forward.
There’s no need to wax lyrical though, as it only needs to be about a paragraph long!
A hiring manager will read this section of your CV first – therefore, you should make sure that this section is as ‘punchy’ and compelling as possible.
Don’t forget to include a personal statement and your personal details – these are imperative.
You don’t have to include personal information like your marital status in your CV, as this is obviously not essential, and won’t affect your ability to work – or whether or not you are the right candidate for the job in question!
Past work experience
When summarising prior work experience, we advise concentrating on two key areas: responsibilities and accomplishments.
You can distinguish between these two areas by placing them under two different subheadings, and then detailing them briefly below each subheading.
Your CV’s interests section gives you the chance to highlight your hobbies, and any other interests outside of work, to give employers a better idea of who you are as a person and an insight into your true personality – which gives them a short break from all the corporate points listed in your cover letter and profile.
It could certainly prove beneficial to include this section in your resume because it provides far more talking points.
You and the interviewing employer both play racquetball in your spare time? A team player through and through – who’d have thought!
Buzzwords for your industry
Format and language are two other things that employers look for. Make sure your CV is rich with instantly recognisable buzzwords to establish yourself as knowledgeable and to show that you have an understanding of the industry you are applying for.
The reader may not be a technical or industry specialist, but they will know what to look out for, so avoid using too much informal terminology.
Another thing to consider is formatting your CV in a way that it can be opened promptly by the recruiter. No hiring manager will want to download software just to see your CV.
Make sure you do your research
Researching the company and role that you are looking to apply for is extremely important – more so for the interview phase – but equally important for the CV phase.
After all, this is the first step of the recruitment process, and hiring managers can spot a copy-and-paste job a mile off.
So, make sure to mention any desirable qualities that you possess that are associated with the role.
For example, you may research the desired qualities for SaaS or Fintech roles should you wish to apply for them and tweak your CV according to the job descriptions given.
Knowing what skills are needed for the role will allow you to go through your own abilities and pick out the ones you have yourself. From here, you can play up the ones you have down and polish transferable skills that could be useful,
You’ll be able to show the potential employer that you are the right candidate for the role in doing so.
If you are looking for a graduate role in the world of SaaS, Fintech, Edtech and top-level recruitment, we can help you land your dream role. We can provide the necessary advice too!
How can Timberseed help me tailor my CV?
At Timberseed, we can provide one-to-one coaching, practical advice, expert tips and assistance to help you out in your graduate job search – as well as when creating your CV.
We are experts at developing recent graduates, alongside their CVs and interview skills, here at Timberseed.
As such, we are proud to work closely with young professionals and new graduates looking to make that first step on their career ladder.
What separates us from the rest is the ability to help source and place graduates who have just completed university with a role that will help them grow, succeed and flourish forward – showcasing their talent in some of the fastest-growing industries around.
Additionally, we provide personalised guidance from our recruiting professionals, ensuring that each graduate receives a tailored experience from the moment they get in touch with us until the moment they are hired for their dream position.
We can guide you through the process – helping to elevate your application and make your CV stand out from the rest so that it will appease the eyes and interests of any employer.
Submit your CV to Timberseed today to start your dream career!