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How Long Do Recruiters & Employers Spend Reading Your CV?

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The average time spent reading a CV is 5-7 seconds”

A well written CV is your first impression for the recruiter or hiring manager to make a decision as to whether they put you forward or not.

There are obviously more contributing factors to the amount of time spent perusing a candidate’s CV, such as he vacancy requirements for minimum experience, qualifications and area of residence. When a candidate lacks these necessities for a role, their CV will likely end up in the rejection pile within a matter of seconds.

What else is it that recruiters look for?

We decided to direct the question to our own Resourcers and find out their process, with the hope of discovering how much truth is in this commonly quoted statistic.

Being a sector specific recruitment consultancy, our Resourcing Consultants evidently spend more time on each CV than the average recruiter. After a little discussion, it became clear that the amount of time spent on a CV really depended on the role being applied for.

“For volume games – the CV scan stops as soon as a Red flag is picked up i.e. Had 5 different employment in the past 2 years. This could be in the first couple of seconds… For niche ones – I may read through every line hoping I can pick out elements I want and for anything unclear the candidate normally gets the benefit of doubt.”

When examining a CV I search to find the key words I am looking for. If they are there then I will continue to read more in depth, if not then I move on to the next”

“Dependant on the C.V. – some C.V’s it takes about 5 seconds to see that they aren’t right. I usually search key words to double check if the are appropriate”

So, you only have 10 seconds to make your impression, how can you improve your odds for receiving that call?

Well first things first, the most important factor to consider is your eligibility for the specific role. Do you have the requirements necessary? As mentioned, this is the first aspect our Resourcers screen in a submitted application. If you feel that you don’t have all specified requirements, but you do have similar experience that makes you eligible for this specific role you need to make this evidently clear in your CV. Pin-point how you still have the understanding and knowledge of someone with the desired experience or qualifications.

It is so important that each CV is tailored to the job role applied for. Don’t miss out on a role because you didn’t include these ‘key words’ our Recruiters repeatedly mentioned. If you’re applying for multiple positions, have a CV designed for each one. For example, a Marketing CV and a Sales CV. Tell the reader exactly why your experience and qualifications match those required by the role.

After a key word search, our Resourcers said they delve into the blurb under each job placement to see how this experience fits with the vacancy applied for. If the candidate seems like a match, then their CV is fully screened for any issues and further information about the candidate.

Try not to make the CV too long.

A lot of the candidates we work with have a well developed CV with extensive experience. If this is the case, really narrow down what to include. Make sure the important elements are highlighted enough so that these are not missed when your CV is being screened. Pin-point what it is you think the employer would like from your experience and prioritise this, for irrelevant experience just mention it with a very brief description. Avoid writing long paragraphs about experiences you don’t think help you with the role being applied for.