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What employers look for in a CV

WRITTEN BYJames Price | JPAbusiness

Job interview 2

One of the biggest pain points for a business owner is sourcing and keeping good people.

In this blog I'm sharing feedback and tips I give people on their CVs when they’re looking for senior roles.

It’s all about being authentic and it’s relevant whether you’re hunting for a team member, or hunting for a job.

Tip 1. Be brief

If you’re a little older and have accumulated a great deal of experience, it’s tempting to want to share all of that in your CV.

But we’re all time-poor and a long and wordy CV is off-putting to readers, regardless of the gems that may be hidden within.

A good CV is one that tells me who are you, what you are good at and why, in one-third of a page. 

The rest should be evidence-based information that supports what you’ve told me. 

The CV need only be one to one-and-a-half pages in total.

Tip 2. Be authentic

As an employer, I want to know the real person who might end up a member of my team.

A CV doesn’t necessarily need to cover all that you have done, but it does need to present who you really are.

The reader needs to discover ‘the essence’ of you, so they can figure out if you’re a match with their own culture and needs, and why you’re a better option than the next applicant.

Every individual is different, we all have ‘special’ attributes – a good CV should reveal these strengths and give examples. 

Tip 3. Be specific

Often in the recruitment world there are a range of ‘human resource words’ used to summarise one’s attributes, for example 'growth-oriented', 'strategic', 'team player', 'motivated', 'client-focused' ... and the list goes on.

Every potential employee should be growth-oriented, strategic, etc., so using these words will not make you stand out to the reader and may actually annoy them because you’re wasting their time.

As an employer I want evidence of specific tasks you have undertaken and specific problems you have solved – I don’t want generic buzzwords.

The number of years of experience in particular roles should also not be the focus; instead it is the quality and outcomes from that experience that should be clearly communicated.

Useful resources

Check out some of our free resources designed to help identify and retain good people:

If you need help developing the strength of your team, or identifying individuals who match your business goals and aspirations, we’d love to help. Contact the team at JPAbusiness on 02 6360 0360 or 02 9893 1803 for a confidential, obligation-free discussion. 


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James Price 2018 smallJames Price has over 30 years' experience in providing strategic, commercial and financial advice to Australian and international business clients. James' blogs provide business advice for aspiring and current small to mid-sized business owners, operators and managers.