If you ask most experts on the job market what recruiters are looking for, they will struggle to narrow it down to just one thing. The job market is complicated, and each employer is looking for something slightly different. There are, however, some common threads – things that most recruiters want to see in potential candidates.

What follows are ten things recruiters commonly look for in a CV.


#1: Excellent Command Of Written English

Recruiters want potential employees to demonstrate an excellent command of the English language. Not only is the ability to write fluently and accurately important for many job roles, but good writing is also a signal to an employer that a candidate has a high level of attention to detail. Recruiters want to see that you’re conscientious, and have the inclination to look over your CV to check it for spelling and grammar errors.

Proofreading of written work is essential. Successful candidates read and then re-read their work and use online spelling and grammar checkers to find errors that they may have overlooked.


#2: Excellent Formatting

Presentation skills are in high demand in today’s economy. Workers need to be able to communicate their ideas powerfully and effectively to others to succeed in the modern workplace. Recruiters, therefore, are often on the lookout for signals in candidates’ CVs that might indicate their capacity for communication.

Formatting – or the way that information is arranged on the page – is a prime indicator of a candidate’s ability to clearly and effectively present information. Excellent formatting takes the form of clear section titles, plenty of white space, and consistent typeface.


#3: Employment History

Recruiters want to know about your employment history, not only to find out what experience you have but also whether you’ve got any gaps in your employment and why. It’s a good idea if you have had gaps in your employment history to explain why. Often gaps occur for legitimate reasons, such as looking after a relative or having a child, but unexplained breaks can worry potential employers. Gaps could potentially indicate an unwillingness to work, so make sure that if you do have gaps, that you give reasons why.


#4: The Results You Have Achieved So Far

Recruiters and hiring managers want to know that you not only have experience but that you’re also effective in your role. It’s good practice, therefore, to include a section in your CV detailing the results that you have achieved for previous employers, even if your last job was not particularly results-driven. For instance, if you were a project manager, give details about projects that you have delivered and the time-frame in which you did them. Alternatively, if you worked as a consultant, provide information about how much you improved your client’s outcomes.


#5: Educational Background

Potential employers use a person’s educational background as a signal for how potentially productive they could be. Make sure to list all your educational qualifications in reverse chronological order and include any additional achievements that you might have. For instance, if you won a scholarship, received a top-tier grade, or did an extension award, mention it.


#6: Career Progression

Recruiters want to see that candidates are interested in the progression of their careers. It’s an indication that they are committed to their work and that they have the ability and maturity to progress as time passes. Many candidates, unfortunately, struggle to provide employers with evidence of career progression as they bounce from one similar role to another. Often, these candidates need the support of a recruitment agency. PRL Recruitment is different to other recruitment agencies because they invest time in their candidates, supporting them and coaching them to get the best possible outcome for them. PRL Recruitment is Ireland’s recruitment agency of choice! PRL Recruitment was established in 1973 and now has a footprint to expand the whole island of Ireland with offices in Dublin and Belfast.


#7: Location

Although you may believe that you’ve found the ideal job in another city, recruiters could disagree. Hiring managers want to know where you live because they want to get an idea of how long your commute will be. Your location isn’t usually a determining factor of whether you’ll get a role, but a recruiter may want to talk to you about moving if you live a long way from the place of work.


#8: Passion

Companies want people who work for them to be passionate about what they do. It’s good for team morale, the employees themselves, and the business brand. Passionate people tend to be ambassadors for the firms they work for and can have a dramatic effect on company performance.

Recruiters will often pick up on passion in a CV based on the type of language that you use, especially in covering letters. Let recruiters know that you don’t just see your work as a job, but as a vocation – something that you find enjoyable in and of itself.


#9: Goals And Ambitions

Sometimes, although not always, it’s appropriate to include a list of goals in your CV so that a future employer can see where you might be heading. Having a set of goals can reveal to employers what you care about most and where you expect to be in, say, five years. Recruiters also want to see your goals because they want to know whether any jobs they offer are the right fit for you and your motivations. Some roles will be incompatible and unsuitable, given your ambition.


#10: Up-To-Date Information

Finally, recruiters want to see that your CV is up to date and includes your educational and professional history up to the present time. Not only is it helpful to hiring managers that your CV is up to date, but it also shows that you have the motivation to keep on top of what can be a dry task.


Of course, you’ll also want to make sure that your contact details are correct too, just in case you’ve changed location or phone number since you last applied for work. And you’ll want to remove some elements from your CV which may no longer be relevant to your current career aspirations.

For more information on preparing your CV or for interview tips, head over to the career advice section of our website.