What Recruiters Look for in your CV



Aside from your Aadhar or Social Security card, your CV is perhaps the most important document in your life. Depending on what stage you are at, it showcases your qualifications and maps your career path – indeed your entire life ever since you graduated. It maps your journey from high school through college, internships, volunteer work, and other positions you may have held before landing your first full time paid job. It represents you as an individual and tells potential recruiters and hiring managers about you, your qualifications, skills, and capabilities.

What should your CV look like?

Considering that your CV is such an important document, it is natural that you should be concerned about it. The question is how to create a resume that makes the shortlist?

What do Recruiters look for in a CV?

Let’s just get right to it. Here are some things that recruiters may actively look for in your curriculum vitae and notice if there is an error.


English is considered a universal language; so ideally, your resume should be written in English – obviously. That said, writing resumes in other languages is not unheard of. More important however is the fact that no matter what language you pick – there can be no – absolutely no – spelling and grammar errors in your CV. It shows carelessness and lack of attention to detail. It’s unprofessional and will put you at a disadvantage right from the first step.

Read, read, and re-read your CV for spelling and grammar errors.


Recruiters are faced with the Herculean task of reading literally thousands of job applications, cover letters, and resumes. They seldom have the time or patience to read each word. So they master the art of scanning or use an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) – often both. Your resume should therefore highlight the points you want to drive home and point to the less relevant points which can be read later. This will help recruiters quickly understand why you are the best fit for the role.


In today’s tech driven era recruiters and hiring managers along with everyone else have a diminishing attention span. CVs that span 3 or more pages may sometimes be headed straight to the trash bin. So along with scanability, your CV should be short in length. Typically, it should not be more than 2 pages in length. Use bullet points and keep the line spacing moderate so that your resume is readable, scannable and still stands out.

Resume Formats for your 2021 CV

Qualification or Skill?

Some recruiters clearly specify the qualifications required for a post while others focus on skillset so you might want to highlight one or the other because it’s probably the first thing the recruiter and hiring manager will look at. Whichever way you go, it’s important to have both qualifications and skillset in your resume. List your qualifications in chronological order and don’t forget to mention the institution through which you acquired them along with your scores.


Portfolios are not just for the world of entertainment. From architects and engineers to content writers and designers, many job-roles require a portfolio – so build yours carefully and highlight the projects that best match your potential role. What better way to show that you are the best suited candidate? And yes, don’t wait for the recruiter to ask – present your portfolio along with your CV and cover letter – or better yet add it right into your CV. And if you are applying online include a link.

Get your professional CV now


Some employers demand experience while others hire off campus. Be that as it may, if your job description demands experience you should showcase yours – even if it is only an internship or a part time gig. Why? Well it shows that you’ve got your feet wet so to speak and are not coming right off the campus. If unfortunately, you have no experience don’t lose hope. There will be someone out there who will be ready to give you your first break.

Role Specific Skills

You may have an impressive skillset and may be extremely talented at what you do. But if you want the recruiter to take notice you should highlight the skills specific for that particular role for which he is scanning your resume. If these skills stand out and catch his attention, chances are he might just drop the bundle and look no further.

If you don’t possess the required skills you can always take a campus-to-corporate course.

Choice of Location

No you won’t get to choose. But you can mention where you would prefer to work. And if you are not ready to re-locate say so upfront saving both of you some time and effort. It may so happen that you are based at a different location from where you completed your education. Recruiters can view this as a preference if you have not explicitly mentioned it and may reach out – or not.

Extracurricular Interests and Hobbies

Once considered an important part of every resume, extracurricular activities are trending once again. Any awards, accolades, and recognition is worth a mention. Many organizations encourage participation in such activities. In particular, you should mention any captaincies and other positions of responsibility. And if you are a fresher, these will help boost your case.


This is one thing you should definitely address head-on without waiting for the recruiter to ask. Whether you have taken a sabbatical from your higher education to attend to an elderly relative or a hiatus to become a parent and homemaker you should clearly say so on your CV.

With digitization seeping in everywhere, along with a physical CV you should also have an online profile that is ATS friendly. We’ll bring you more from the world of HR and Recruitment soon. Meanwhile stay tuned and if you love to talk about trending topics join us on FB and Quora.

Leave a Reply