Recruiters spend between 6 to 30 seconds scanning through your CV and within this little time frame, will determine is your CV stand a chance or not. When recruiter look through your CV there are some important things they look out for and if you are able to craft your CV base on what they want, you will definite be shortlisted for the job. I took the time to ask six human resource professionals what they consider most when they screen through your CV and their response will shock you. Read what they have to say below.


so many thinWinston Nkanorgs to be honest,
1. I can tell a bit of the individuals personality from how the individual puts together the CV. such as attention to detail and organizing skills
2. Also, i look out for responsibilities and achievement relating to the role i am screening for.
hobbies and referee are really my least of things to check for

«Winston Nkanor» Talent & Recruitment Manager West Africa at Samsung Electronics West Africa


Ijeoma NkwontaWell dependent on the role, if it is a role in a Multinational firm i’d be looking for someone with a ‘progressive mindset and approach to life’. This can be seen in training’s or courses the person attaches himself to. Even whilst working.

Secondly I’d be checking achievements in firms the person has worked in, truth is every firm is about adding value, how can I know if the person is a value adder if the person has not added value in previous firms he or she has worked. I infact advice people to always project their achievements.

Lastly I check out the persons career trajectory in sum, like I usually love people who have worked across industries (I would take a candidate who has worked in a financial services industry, pharmaceutical industry, oil and gas and then construction industry probably doing similar thing to a candidate who has worked in just one firm maybe in the oil and gas industry doing same thing) reason been the first person has shown me that he is adaptable that he can go from one industry to another and adapt beautifully. Everything now is adaptability employers are looking for people who can easily adapt and hit the ground running once they resume and who can also bring Fresh ideas the first candidate who has moved across industries is likely to do that as he has been in different firms and seen different practices and would be in a better position to say standardised practices that can be adopted.

«Ijeoma Nkwonta»  Recruitment Consultant/Project Administrator at GLOBALPROFILERS ( Profilers Group)


Akonte Lawson

The things HR personnel/recruiters look out for on a CV varies from organisation to organisation, depending on some circumstances and the particular role to be filled. This is not cast in stone. However, as a general rule, the following will enhance an applicant’s chances of getting shortlisted.

Fresh graduate/Entry-level positions:

  1. Strong academic grades. Because candidates at the entry level cadre have very little or no work experience, a very good academic grade puts a candidate in a very strong position.
  2. Volunteer experience and previous short-term jobs/projects. This will come in handy for an Entry level applicant as it shows that s/he might have acquired important workplace skills like teamwork and collaboration, interpersonal relationship, etc.
  3. Leadership experience. Entry level job seekers who took up leadership positions while in school are in a stronger position than those who did not. Candidates who held positions in association such as AIESEC, Enactus, etc., are usually preferred as they are regarded as having strong leadership attributes.

Mid-senior level positions:

  1. Relevant experience. This cannot be overemphasised as it provides valid proof that a candidate had been there and done that.
  2. A steady, consistent career path in a particular field. A candidate who works in Sales today, HR tomorrow, and in Finance the next day, may be regarded as unfocused and unsure about his/her career ambitions.
  3. Education/Qualification. Applicants with tertiary and higher education, except otherwise stated, have a better chance of getting shortlisted.
  4. Professional Certification. As a HR professional, if after an interview and there is not much to separate two or more very good candidates; all things being equal, the candidate with professional certification will be preferred. Apart from the credibility that comes with a professional certificate, it assures of an applicant’s understanding of key concepts and best practices governing the particular profession.
  5. Achievements. From my experience in HR, a CV with a highlighted “Achievements” section, with a quantifiable, one-line statement of accomplishment, improves an applicant’s chances of getting shortlisted. For a Sales position, a statement like, ‘‘Grew sales revenue (by 200%) from N1bn in Y2015 to N3bn in Y2016’’, will surely get a second look.


Overall, for all positions, regardless of the job cadre, the importance of an organised and well-written CV cannot be over-emphasised. The font type and size MUST be consistent throughout the CV; otherwise, chances of making the shortlist might be affected.

«Akonte Lawson, ACIPM, HRPL» Talent Acquisition Specialist | Career Counsellor | Human Capital & Business Performance Optimiser at Ascentech Services Limited


Amaka CheteWhat I look out for is where the job applicant has worked/is working, every other thing like how long he has spent and if there is an employment gap is secondary.

«Amaka Chete, PHRi™, ACIPM» Group HR Officer – Recruitment, Learning & Development at Tiger Brand



Temitope FolarinThe most important things depend on the hiring manager’s request. But the general basic rule is for your profile to match at least 85% of the requirements and delete unnecessary boring details like religion, home-town, date of birth(except on request). Also, nobody works with itemized JD on CV anymore. It should include the projects you worked on and your major achievements well articulated.

«Temitope Folarin» HR Consultant at Helena Frey


Oluwafemi Segun AjiboyeTo answer your question in brief, with my little knowledge as a recruitment consultant, I will affirm that the most important thing we look out for as recruitment analyst/specialist/consultant is a WEALTHY EXPERIENCE. Note: I didn’t just say experience but a wealthy one. To shed more light on what i meant by a wealthy experience. Though experience is great but experience is not all as in some cases EXPERIENCE might actually be an EXPIRED SENSE. On the other way round, a wealthy experience is the exact interest of the recruiter who understand the pain of the client/hiring organization. A wealthy experience means the job responsibilities of the candidate in question either presently or through his/her career history perfectly fit the client requirement.

Therefore a scenario where where a company who majorly deal with construction and asset development need a project manager with more than 10 years of experience and we have two great profiles of project managers where candidate A has been into project management for more than 10 years but moving across various sectors of the economy such as construction, IT,Hospitality e.t.c and candidate B has just 8-9 years of experience only in the construction and asset development Industry. Am sure majority of recruiters will go for candidate B. Reason not far fetched, his job responsibilities aligns perfectly with the pain of the hiring organisation.

«Oluwafemi Segun Ajiboye» Recruitment Specialist at GLOBALPROFILERS ( Profilers Group)


In conclusion, your CV has to be relevant to the position you are applying for. Every employer want to be sure you can do the job they are hiring you for, aside the other factors they also have to consider. Using one generic CV to apply for different jobs is not a clever approach. I hope you have learnt some valuable insight from our recruitment experts, if you have any question or feedback, ensure to leave them at the comment section and we will response to them.