What Hiring Managers Are Really Looking For In a CV


Did you know that hiring managers can spend as little as 7 seconds reviewing your CV? That's extremely little considering the time you spent writing it - so what exactly are hiring managers looking for?

You should know that most HR managers do not have the time to read every CV line by line, so it is highly important to catch their attention upon first glance. This will then lead HR to further examine your CV and shortlist you as a potential interview candidate.

Company Size

HR, being familiar with the industry they are hiring for, are able to interpret your level of job experience, professional training, and type of skills developed from the company(s) you have worked for.

Being a operation manager at a well-known, large multinational company is different to being a operation manager at a lesser-known, small company. Both roles would have allowed you to develop a particular set of transferable skills, but HR will try to understand whether or not these skills will be applicable to the job at hand.

Professional Working Experience

Although it is great to develop a broad range of professional skills in the workplace, not all skills are relevant to certain jobs. HR will be on the lookout for what the applicant has gained from various professional experiences.

For example, if HR is looking to recruit a front-end developer, they will probably be looking for someone with extensive experience with HTML/CSS and JavaScript - skills probably not required for someone who is looking to go into an Account Managment or Sales Executive role.

Ultimately, you must ensure that the work experience stated on your CV is relevant to the job you are applying to!

Work Achievements and Roles

Work experience is important - but you must also support your experience with a proven track record. State your achievements succinctly by using the C.A.R. framework - Challenge, Action, and Results. For example, your challenge was to improve the company's ROI with marketing campaigns. Your action was that you re-allocated marketing budget from the traditional leaflets and billboard advertising to the digital space in social media. The result was that you improved the company's ROI on marketing by 25% after the first year upon implementation. It is important that achievements are kept brief but with enough information so that HR can judge whether or not your accomplishments will help add value to their company.

It is usual for competitive jobs to receive hundreds of applications. Usually, the corresponding department head will tell HR in advance the relevant experience, skills, or institutions they are looking for, and HR will check if the applicant has met these conditions when they are screening. Only those who hit all criteria will be passed on to the department head for consideration.

Please note that the CV for a junior position is different from the CV for a senior position. If you are a fresh or recent graduate who has worked for less than 2 years, you can check out the next article - How to write a junior-level CV even if you have no prior work experience?

If you are applying for a senior position, you can take a look at this article - Tips for writing a senior-level CV


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Fiona Wong

Freelance translator & writer, love arts, cinema, travel and flowers!

2 min read

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