What recruiters look for in a CV – Actionable Tips

Alexander Mazzara 30, Apr 2020 5 min
LinkedIn & Blog Posts 13

Find out what recruiters look for in a CV and use this insight to make your CV the best one they read!

Ever wondered what recruiters look for in a CV ? We’re about to give you our best resume tips from our Lionstep-Recruiters. Maybe you have just started writing your CV or already have one, either way these insights will help you address the most important points to look at, so you don’t overlook any vital details. 

Think deeply about the actual job you are applying for:

You might want to apply to 2 different roles. Adapt your CV to each specific role because one thing recruiters look for in a CV is whether it’s tailored or one that’s being used for many roles. A great way is to also think about adapting it to the industry of the company, by using specific keywords. You can search with google and type in “best resume keywords to use for JOB ROLE” or “best resume keywords to use for INDUSTRY”.

Use verbs that relate to the job role you are applying for:

Go to google and type “best resume verbs for JOB ROLE (you are applying for)”, try to use these verbs within your CV. Don’t use verbs like “was” or “helped”, instead use actionable words, such as “managed”, “developed” or “launched”. Use each verb a maximum of 2 times.

Be quantitative and use numbers:

“Launched 2 product features” is quantitative in some degree but it does not provide any context and anyone could have written this. Use numbers that explain why it is impressive that you did this.

Numbers help build credibility to your profile and provide great insights on your skills and actual experiences. It demonstrates that you tracked results and have thought about the work you have been doing and accomplished. Further, it shows that your role has had a high impact on the business and this is something that every recruiter is looking for. 

For example, for a sales position:

“Managed 10 people to lead to $2 million in sales” – this does not provide enough context.

Instead, mention the actual change:

“Managed 10 people to lead annual sales from 300k to $2 million, while simultaneously expanding operations to 3 new countries.”

  1. Show insights into the process – how you got to reach an outcome
  2. Provide insights into the actual results you accomplished
  3. Mention the breadth of a role – with whom you dealt with, global or local

Try to use one page:

The CV should ideally be 1-2 pages. You can use an appendix but ideally it should not be too long. If you need help shortening it, we suggest: reviewing each item of your resume and asking yourself the question “so what?”, if the answer does not seem meaningful, then eliminate that item because it does not seem significant or likely that it contributes to your positive profile. Your CV should not come across as a memoir, or biography but rather as a piece of evidence, with arguments that prove you’re the best for the job.

Use the space wisely: If your graphics take a quarter of your CV, a recruiter might think, “don’t you have enough to say to take up the entire page?” Some colour and design can be nice, but only if it really helps deliver your information. 

Don’t lie or use information in your CV, that if asked about in an interview, you cannot backup with a story: You don’t want to mention a skill or tool you can use, and in an interview if asked about it’s “oh, i haven’t used it in 3 years”. This would create a bad impression with the interviewer. So be prepared to answer questions regarding your CV information and be prepared to address how you learned or excelled from the items in your CV. 

Accomplishments you can quantify (you can also use percentage changes if the information is sensitive):

  • Team members you worked with/managed
  • The global scope of your work (countries, cities)
  • Number of clients (you managed/worked for)
  • Number of reports you managed
  • Rate of return (you helped achieve)
  • Time (you helped save)
  • Number of publications that featured your work
  • Estimated risk (you helped decrease)
  • Churn rate (you helped decrease)
  • Aggregated annual worth (of work you managed/contracts,etc.)
  • Profitability/shareholder value you impacted
  • Awards you have received

Top priority:

  • Use a professional email address “firstname.lastname”
  • Font size should be readable – 10-12 font
  • Most recent information at the top (reverse chronological order)
  • Use relevant keywords and verbs (adapt to the specific job description)
  • Be quantitative and use numbers
  • Consider saving your CV as a pdf

Medium priority:

  • Make use of bold font & italics and be consistent – to make certain information stand out (subheadings should be bold)
  • Use readable fonts that look attractive
  • Sections should have simple subheadings: Experience, Education, Skills
  • Balance white spaces
  • The design should be professional and information should be skimmable (also use bullet points, ideally 2 columns)
  • Eliminate repetitive words or phrases
  • Name your files properly. 

Low priority:

  • Include URLs to relevant social media or personal websites
  • Eliminate the sentence: “References available upon request.”
  • Write explanations for large gaps in your career history, if relevant.
  • Don’t use dramatical jargon that’s not necessary
  • Use a proofreading tool – or let someone proofread your resume
  • Clean up your online presence (especially social media)
  • Try to connect with the hiring manager on LinkedIn

Are you interested in a new challenge? At Lionstep we believe that amazing opportunities will find your way. Become part of the Lionstep talent pool and get connected to industry-leaders, future-shapers and tech-enthusiasts that believe in the power of unstoppable teams. 


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