What are employers in York looking for?

York Jobs Fairs and Apprenticeship recruitment events are great opportunities to speak directly to employers to find out what they’re looking for and what opportunities are out there for you.

We asked employers in York what they’re looking for in a candidate – read on to find their responses! If you spot something that you know you struggle with or would like some guidance with, come along and speak to York Learning’s Information, Advice and Guidance team to find out how we can support you to demonstrate your transferable skills on your CV, and work on any skills you need to build up.

Royal Navy Reserves officer at York Jobs Fair

Knowledge of Job

The Royal Army told us they like candidates to show some knowledge of the company and industry they are going into. Try searching online for the company and find out key points about them. Read and re-read the job description and pick up key words so you understand the role. If you don’t understand, try asking someone who works in that industry or search online.

Job Specific CVs

A generic CV that you send out for every job is no longer good enough. Employers are looking for specific people to fill roles and you need to show that you’re not just a generic person. York College said “Make sure a CV includes information relevant to the job to demonstrate you have thought about the job and how your experience and skills match”.

Hiscox Insurance advised that you should “write a personal statement that relates to the job and reflects your personality”. Make sure your CV doesn’t get lost in the crowd. Hiscox and North Yorkshire Police also both look for a full employment history with gaps explained.

Marriott Job Opportunities at York Jobs Fair
Staff talking to customers at York Jobs Fair


Care provider, Mencap, were quick to tell us that a positive attitude can go a long way to securing you a job. Similarly, Heritage Health Care said that motivation and enthusiasm for the role was a contributing factor to choosing a candidate.

Independent Living Scheme have a really positive view of personalities. They’re keen for candidates to be friendly and have a good sense of humour. They also touched on the importance of being reliable and punctual.


For those fresh out of university or changing careers, this can be the biggest barrier when looking for a job, but it doesn’t have to be. Blue Bird Care advised us that using non-work related experience can still help you to stand out from the pack. So those voluntary hours you did or even a hobby can help you land a job.

Marriot Hotels and Langleys Solicitors both pointed to experience as an important factor. Langleys went on to say that whatever experience you do have, be sure to give a clear explanation and how it is relevant to the role you’re interested in.

Live, Learn, Earn at York Jobs Fair
Flamingo Land staff at York Jobs Fair

Communication Skills

By far, one of the most universal factors seems to be communication skills and the ability to work as a team. Network Rail, Smyths, Benenden and Dobson Dental all touched on this.

Throughout all industries, having these skills is very important. When speaking to employers be sure to show signs of good communication skills by listing to what they have to say and responding appropriately, maintaining eye contact when talking to someone and being polite.