Past experience is the key to a winning CV – study

Zena Everett and her colleagues at Connect

Zena Everett and her colleagues at Connect

Employers examine a job applicant’s previous experience before looking at any other part of their CV, according to new research conducted by Swindon-based outplacement specialist Connect.

The study reveals how recruiters evaluate resumes – skipping past the personal profile section to go straight to current or most recent employment.

They will only read the rest of the CV is a candidate’s previous experience is of interest to them.

A sample of 198 recruiters from direct hiring organisations and job agencies took part in the study.

A control group of job-seekers overestimated the importance of the personal statement section on the CV in comparison to the importance of their most recent employment history.

The personal profile section was shown to be important, but not as important as the most recent work experience.

The study also revealed that recruiters preferred short personal statements and recommended that job-seekers avoid waffle such as ‘works well individually or as part a team’ at all costs.

Recruitment specialist Zena Everett, who conducted the survey as part of an MSc project at Birkbeck College, University of London said: “The study has important implications for job-seekers in a highly competitive market.

“If your job title does not match the requirement of the recruiter, then don’t expect them to read on to discover your transferable skills: your CV will be discarded in seconds.

“Equally they may be interested in the company you have previously worked for, so be mindful of the ’employer brand’ of your organisation.

“People make assumptions about you based on where you work. Job-seekers who aren’t working might want to bridge the gap with some temporary or voluntary work, which continues to develop the skills that will be of most interest to a potential employer.”

Now in its tenth year, Connect works with national and multinational companies who are making redundancies, helping them to identify new career paths and opportunities and equipping them with the skills they need to succeed in the job market, including CV writing and interview skills. For more information log on to

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