Man applying for a job online

Creating a great CV is both a science and an art, as the best CVs are well structured but also engage the reader. We’ve crunched the numbers to find out what employers really look for in a CV to help you to create your very own version that ticks all the boxes.

Remember, if you need any help when putting together your CV, then the University offers CV workshops for graduates as part of our Careers Service for life alumni benefit, which includes careers advice and much more. Visit our Graduate Gateway for more details.

Fact: Recruiters and employers only spend 5-7 seconds taking a first look at your CV

Advice: Use a clear structure throughout your CV.

It’s important to make these valuable seconds count by quickly grabbing the attention of your prospective employer. 80% of this short time is spent looking at your name, current job, previous job and education history – so make sure these can be easily found on the page. The remaining 20% of time is spent scanning your CV for keywords that indicate that you’d be a good fit for the role, so consider weaving these into your covering letter, summary, skills, achievements and personal interests sections in order to get noticed. When thinking about which keywords the employer might be looking for, carefully re-reading the job description is usually the best place to start. (statistics: The Undercover Recruiter, Forbes)

Fact: Almost half of CVs longer than two pages are discarded

Advice: Be concise and keep it relevant.

Many popular graduate roles will receive hundreds of applications, which means that a recruiter or your prospective employer will have a whole pile of CVs to work through. In fact, 46% of employers revealed in a recent survey that they found CVs that were too long “annoying”. Make their lives easy when they read through yours by keeping information clear and concise and ensure that your CV does not exceed two pages in length. If you’re struggling to keep your CV short and sweet, consider whether or not everything that you want to include is relevant to the specific role that you’re applying for. (Statistics: Twin Employment & Training)

Fact: Having a spelling mistake in a CV reduces the chances of a candidate getting a job by 50%

Advice: When creating your CV, it’s important to ensure that you are putting your best foot forward.

Two in every three CVs contain at least one error and poor spelling and grammar can leave the wrong impression, so proofreading your CV a few times after writing it is a good idea. Better still, ask a professional to proof read it once you’re happy with it, as it is much more likely that a third party would spot any mistakes. (Statistics: The Independent)

Fact: 75% of CVs are ignored if you have an unprofessional email address

Advice: Once you graduate, you will only have access to your @salford.ac.uk email address for a limited time.

When applying for jobs, set up a professional email address. Outlook and Gmail are the most popular email providers should you not have one already. (Statistics: Twin Employment & Training)

Fact: 29% of hiring managers look at a candidate’s LinkedIn profile

Advice: LinkedIn is a useful tool for job seekers across the UK, including graduates looking for their first professional role.

Increasingly, both your CV and LinkedIn page will be looked at when you apply for a role, so set up a LinkedIn and ensure it accurately reflects your CV. As prospective employers will look at both, it should also be seen as an opportunity to use LinkedIn as an extension of your CV, perhaps including information on your LinkedIn profile that could not fit on your two-page CV. (Statistics: FastCompany)

If you want to learn more tips and tricks for getting ahead in your Graduate Life, then the University offers a Careers Service for life advice, and CV writing is just one of the many benefits available, along with job search secrets and personal branding advice. Visit the Graduate Gateway page to find out more.