What Hiring Managers Are Looking For On Your CV

Welcome to Croíadh’s resource hub. This is one article in a series of resources which are designed to add to your own thought leadership as you Empower Your Executive Job Search.

I consciously decided to keep the scope of this article wide in order to reach as many career professionals as possible with this information. The best practice tips and reflections offered here for your consideration will serve you whether you are a senior executive or an individual starting out in your career. 

As a recruitment specialist who has had the privilege to work in some of the worlds well known social enterprise, not-for-profit, and commercial organisations over the last 12 years, I’ve reviewed and shortlisted hundreds of thousands of CVs for a diverse range of roles up to senior leadership level.

I’ve worked internally in People and Culture (HR) teams where I have mentored Hiring Managers to ensure that their shortlisting and selection processes are fully compliant.

As an executive career transition coach in the social purpose sector, I’m on a mission to further empower career professionals to improve the quality of your job search while developing more of your potential, and I’ve a wealth of insider knowledge that can serve you.  So, let’s dive right in.

What are Hiring Managers looking for in a Resume/CV?

Your CV is going to be the first impression the organisation receives of you, so it’s really important it makes an immediate positive impact. This is your real opportunity to demonstrate that you are a strong candidate for their vacancy.

The presentation and quality of this professional document reflects the standard you hold for yourself and for your work. Your resume is essentially an extension of yourself as it reflects your career story and highlights your unique tapestry of experience, skills, strengths, values, and work achievements.

Recruitment professionals and hiring managers are busy professionals who sometimes have hundreds of CVs to review for each vacancy, so your resume needs to clearly demonstrate your suitability to increase your chances of being shortlisted.

Ensure your CV is easy to navigate, and that you quickly evidence your expertise for the role based predominantly on the essential criteria and core requirements listed on the job description.

Tailor your CV honestly and intelligently to present yourself and your expertise as being the solution to what the hiring manager needs.

The shortlisting reviewer will decide whether or not to invite you for an interview based on how closely your skills are aligned to the key requirements for their vacancy, and how well you present and communicate your relevant experience and impact.

Recruiters and hiring managers are required to shortlist applications in a consistent manner to ensure that there is fairness in the selection process. When a recruiter or hiring manager is reviewing your CV, they will initially be looking for evidence of your level of experience with respect to the essential requirements which are listed on the job description for the vacancy, followed by the desirable criteria.

Include any key achievements that you have demonstrated in your current or past roles relevant to these criteria. Quantify your achievements succinctly to evidence to the hiring manager that you have the skills and attributes needed to make a positive contribution to their team.

Remember, employers are looking for people who can offer solutions. I recommend to my executive coaching clients to set aside a short period of quality reflection time to think about how you can best present yourself as the solution to your potential employer’s unique requirements, and then tailor your application accordingly.

You can gather insights as you study the Job Description and research the organisation online to find out about their current vision, mission, challenges, opportunities, and market.

With a wider scope of information collated, you are more empowered to reflect on how you can most effectively tailor your application to this role.

By doing so in a professional manner, you will demonstrate to your potential employer your critical thinking skills, along with your sincere interest to work for their company.

In addition to relevant experience, good hiring managers are also looking for candidates who are aligned with the core values of their organisation, and who demonstrate a series of character attributes, behaviours, qualities and mind-sets that are needed for success in the role.

While these softer skills are more readily and thoroughly assessed at an interview, it is important to include at least some qualities on your resume that are genuine strengths for you.

Most organisations are looking for people with skills such as creative problem solving, commercial awareness, collaboration, grit, and an agility to adapt well to change.

As organisations continue to develop more of a conscious leadership culture they will also be looking for professionals who demonstrate strong empathy, emotional intelligence, active listening, executive presence, and cultural intelligence.

If you are in a profession where you work from home, the company will be looking for evidence of qualities such as self responsibility and self discipline. If you have these and/or other skills that you believe your employer needs now or into the future, or if you lead others to develop such skills, do ensure that you include them on your resume.

Hiring managers want to see evidence of consistency, growth, development, and increasing levels of responsibility on your CV. They will be viewing your previous job titles, dates and achievements for evidence of this. If your career journey includes progression and professional learning or development, include this information on your CV.

Good hiring managers also understand that candidates sometimes choose to take a step back for a time due to outer circumstances and priorities, or have a career gap. These are fine to have on your CV, so long as you explain the reason in a concise, positive and professional manner.

Hiring Managers are also looking for a clear sense of where you CV is dialled into going, and what your career aspirations are, to ensure you are a match for their opportunity. Remember to always be honest and real. Keep your resume professional, achievements focused, and authentic to you.

Go raibh maith agat. Thank you for reading this article. If you feel this information may serve someone else in your circle who may be looking for new opportunities feel very welcome to share it with your family members, friends, colleagues and network.


About Lynda Morrissey

Lynda Morrissey is the Founder of Croíadh, the Right Livelihood Network.

She is an Executive Career Coach with Neuroscience, a Senior Recruitment Management Consultant with over 12 years experience earned in the social purpose business and NGO sectors. 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lyndamorrissey/

©Lynda Morrissey, Croíadh, 2022.  All rights reserved.