Yes, we know our resume needs to be top notch to grab the employer’s attention. But, HOW? What do we actually need to have within our CV’s to catch their eye and land us that job? What are employers actually looking for?

Creating a resume in the current recruitment market can be overwhelming, daunting and set us into a panic, as it feels so much is riding on one document. Many of us haven’t looked at our resume in years as we have been in a comfortable job for some time; and blowing away the cobwebs of a CV that’s older than some graduates is a task nobody wants to tackle.

There are plenty of websites out there that can help you create an eye-catching resume, but they don’t actually tell you EXACTLY what an employer is looking for within the body of your profile and experience. Here, we detail the 4 most important elements of your CV that employers want to witness that will provoke them to spend longer than the average six seconds (that statistically an employer would usually spend) to read it.

  1. Keyword Research

Reading resumes involves skimming through sections to identify the most relevant keywords for the advertised position. Employers will be able to tell from your language usage how much knowledge you have of the specific industry, your level of experience and how qualified and well-suited you are for the role. The key to figuring out what those key words may be and using them successfully is to read the job description from top to bottom and mirror their language usage throughout. These highlighted words and use of language will grab their attention and let them know you have properly read and digested the job description, and subsequently deem yourself appropriate for employment. If your resume does not have the appropriate language usage, it could be tossed into the reject pile.

  1. Embellished Skills

Honesty is the best policy. Embellishing your skills will only set you up for failure if you get through to the interview stage, but it can be obvious within your CV if you are not as well trained in a sector as you claim to be. Employers are not expecting you to have every single attribute detailed in the desired job description, and so be careful when writing your CV not to overwhelm it with a false sense of perfection. Recruiters are very observant and will be able to tell; and if they don’t right away, your exaggerations will always become apparent further down the line. To avoid this mistake, be truthful about your capabilities and back them up with examples and experiences so your genuine competence comes across, as honesty is a trait every employer is looking for.

  1. Overall Career Progression

Your resume should tell a story of your career progression so far, but employers don’t want to read through positions or achievements that are irrelevant and insignificant to the job role. Primarily, they want to see your most recent RELEVANT role detailed first and the story that follows thereafter of the positions that got you there. It is important to show a progression and a drive to evolve and move onto more challenging and qualified roles. Furthermore, if you are new to a sector and don’t have experience within the industry, relevancy of personal skills is key. Even if you are going from being a hairdresser to a retail assistant, relate them to each other through the lessons you have learnt and how your experiences have helped to develop your personal skills as appropriate to the role not only educationally but characteristically too.

  1. Personal Brand and Online Presence

Even if your job role does not require you to have an online presence, it is important to represent yourself respectfully online, as Social Recruiting Survey found 73 percent of employers have hired a candidate through social media. As much as we hate to think, our employers are looking at our social media pages, so always bear this in mind when posting on these platforms. Recruiters are not trying to catch you out, they just want to learn more about the ‘real’ you, how you handle yourself and how as an individual you can add value to a business. Putting your Social Media handles on your resume also shows confidence and boldness, another quick and effortless way to stand out from the crowd.


Written by Sophie Cunningham; 11th September 2020