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Recruiters Reveal The CV Elements That Are More Important Than You Think


Things Brits worry about when it comes to writing their CVs is significantly different to what recruiters value when assessing possible candidates according to research released today by global specialist recruitment company, Michael Page.

The research, which came from a representative survey of 2,000 members of the British public and an additional survey of PageGroup employees, looked at how opinions on what strengthens and weakens your CV and what the most important elements of a CV differ between the public and recruitment consultants.

The results of these surveys also revealed what recruiters really value and what job seekers worry about most when applying for new roles.

5 most important CV elements, according to recruiters

  1. Avoiding misspellings and typos
  2. Avoiding grammatical errors
  3. Including specific details of what you have achieved in previous roles
  4. Using a professional tone
  5. Including specific details of your responsibilities in previous roles

5 least important CV elements,  according to recruiters

  1. Whether you put education before experience or vice versa
  2. Keeping your CV under 2 pages
  3. Writing in the third person
  4. Having experience working abroad
  5. Including volunteer experience

Many of us include a personal interest section at the end of our CV; 72% of Brits said they believe it’s an important element to include. However, only 41% of recruitment consultants agreed. The recruiters surveyed also revealed that including soft skills like the ability to work well in a team, having experience of working abroad, and volunteering experience, are not as important as Brits seems to think:

  • 89% of the public believe it’s important to include soft skills on your CV, vs. 55% of recruiters
  • 85% of recruitment consultants said experience working abroad is not important
  • Just over half (54%) of Brits think it’s important to include volunteering experience, whereas only 11% of recruitment consultants agreed.

The surveys revealed that the general public and recruitment consultants agree that working for a well-known brand, having more experience than the job requires, and staying at the same company for more than 4 years strengthens your CV. Staying at the same company for 10 years, though, actually weakens your CV, according to 36% of recruiters, despite what 70% of the British public think.

Recruiters were also asked about how social media affects your application. 34% said including links to social media profiles strengthens your CV but, with 91% of recruiters agreeing that candidates should be conscious of their social media activity when applying for jobs, Brits should be wary of what they’re saying on social media during their job search.

The surveys conducted by Michael Page also show that concern is particularly high around experience and previous achievements amongst British job-hunters. 74% of people in the UK worry about not having every skill listed on a job advert while 70% have concerns about whether they’ve been specific enough on their CV about achievements in previous roles.

When it comes to having enough experience to apply for the job in the first place, 74% of women have concerns about this, compared to 63% of men.

These surveys suggest that, even though support from recruitment specialists is readily available, few job seekers utilise this to improve their CVs, leading to a significant difference between what recruiters and the general public think is important when it comes to writing CVs.

An interactive visualisation of this data,What’s Important on a CV, plots the most overestimated and underestimated elements of a CV according to recruiters, and allows job seekers to discover what they should and shouldn’t be including on their CVs. View key insights and compare data on specific CV elements at:

For more information please contact PR Consultant Beverley Reinemann at or on 020 7183 0767