Here at Excel, we see a lot of CVs. A lot. And our team of experienced recruiters are sharing their insider knowledge on what the look for, and what they avoid, when screening CVs. In most cases, your CV is the first impression an employer has of you so make it count. The aim is to get across you have the skills and experience to get the job, and then go get the job. Presentation is key. The CV and accompanying cover letter should be tailored to the particular job you are applying for. Focus on the skills and experience relevant to that job to avoid your CV being overlong and make it stand out from the crowd.

Keeping the layout of the CV neat, clear and consistent along with correct grammar and spelling are CRUCIAL. Sarah Hurley, Buyer and Head Office recruiter, has a clear idea about what makes a good CV “Keep it simple. My ideal CV has a personal profile that sums the candidate up and describes the main objective for their career, followed by career summary, education, IT skills and the relevant interests.” Sarah also adds a small important point for jobseekers, “put CVs in Word format, not PDF as they can be difficult to format if we need to”.

However, there is no point having a great-looking CV if the content isn’t solid. Head of Fashion and Non-Food, Aislinn Lea explains her number one turn-off when it comes to CVs. “ Not too many jumps on their CV is the main thing I would be conscious of.” If you do have gaps or jumps on your CV, be prepared to explain them, both positively and honestly.

Sean Thomas, from our grocery desk and Nikki Murran, head of our Grocery department look for similar things when screening CVs. Sean says “good longevity and career progression with good company brands names, that are leaders in their markets . Nikki also stresses the importance of longevity, “ I look for strong brand progression and longevity in each role.”

Quote concrete examples of your successes in previous roles such as to support your claims. For example, “This increased profit by 2%” or “This led to a reduction in overheads from €23,000 to €17,000 per year”.

Remember, you never get a second chance at a first impression so make your C.V the best it can be and give your job search the best possible start.