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What do Employers look for in a CV?

Relevant experience

When an employer puts up a job advertisement, most often the employer knows what he or she is looking for. The position and job scope are articulated, and the required skill sets, listed. If you are responding to a job advertisement, you need to present your CV so that it would capture the employer’s interest, by demonstrating that you understand the job requirements and that you do in fact, have the relevant qualification and experience to fulfill that role. So, before you even begin to respond to any of these advertisements, you need to filter out and choose only the roles that match what you have to offer. Therefore, the keywords here are ‘relevant work experience’. Relevant experience would refer to the type of industry you have been in, level of experience, specific skills that you have acquired, and even internship experiences that you have accumulated.

If an employer is looking for a software programmer who understands the business requirements, whereas your experience lies with the business as an analyst who designs the user requirement architecture, then you would not be able to fulfil that role to develop codes and software.

Duration of each employment

Next, the employer looks at how long have you stayed with one organisation. If you are constantly changing jobs every 6 months, it sounds the alarm bells that the candidate may not have the interest or tenacity to stay in a job for too long. Recruitment and hiring is a tedious process. It does cost time and money. So, if an employer would like to hire someone, the preference is for the right candidate to be appointed, who would have the propensity to stay on at least a year. So, in order for you to let the employer know that you have a good track record, be sure that you include your work experience with the duration specified in each line of information. For e.g., if you had taken up a role as a Trainee for six months, be sure that you indicate that you started in January 2020 and ended in Jun 2021. If you are currently still employed, state the start date i.e. July 2021 till current.

So beware, employers will look out if you have gaps in your employment history. The more gaps, the less impressed the employer will be. Employers don’t like ‘job hoppers’. Therefore, it is always wise to include a cover letter with you when you are submitting your résumé. In the cover letter, you should explain the reason for the gaps.

Academic background

For some jobs, the qualification sets the minimum criteria for consideration. For e.g., if a company is looking for a Graduate Accountant, the candidate must possess a Bachelor of Business in Accounting. And therefore, if you are applying for the position, you need to know that your qualification can back you up. However, the job market can be a bit of a tumultuous marketplace. You should know what the employer is after. You do not need a CPA or an MBA holder or an accounting graduate to fill the role of a bookkeeper. So, avoid using your CV as a register for your scholastic achievement. You may frighten away your potential employer.


The most disrespectful behaviour observed through looking at a CV is when a candidate states that “Details of referees will be provided upon request”. Most employers would just park this CV at the door. The right thing to do is to provide 2 work-related references and 1 character reference. Recommended work referees are your supervisor and above in your previous employment. The candidate can use a relatively senior person as the character referee from the school or institutions, a community leader or an elder from a religious establishment. The ability to list the contacts shows that you are confident about your employment history and your general work ethics.


At any one time, an employer who has launched a recruitment campaign can receive over hundreds of CVs. What would make yours stand out? Have your picture professionally taken, rather than have a profile picture from your social media platforms. At the same time, align your information presented your CV to your LinkedIn profile. Your CV shouold be concise, highlighting your skills and experience in a good 2-pager document. Highlight your corner of your page with a darken print, or use a different paper texture if you are sending in a hardcopy CV. Do whatever it takes so that the person who picks up your CV can put a face to the name and remember you easily.

Remember, your CV will give the employer the first impression about you. It’s your marketing tool sum up in a document for you to gain access to the next steps. Don’t ruin that opportunity. Remember to perform a round of spellcheck, get your punctuations right and review your grammar. There are tools out there that can help you in almost an instant, like Grammarly.

Have a go! If you need help, just drop us an email and we can get our Career’s Team to give you our feedback.

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