Found Your Ideal Job? Your CV has six seconds to impress a recruiter-go!

Recent studies have found that in the world of recruitment you have a measly six seconds to make an impression on the recruiter. While that’s five and a half seconds more then we get to make a first impression face-to-face, it still piles on the pressure to make your CV sing. 

What are recruiters looking for in their six second scan?

The study followed thirty professional recruiters for ten weeks to gain insight into recruiting behaviour. It used gaze tracking technology to understand what the recruiters for looking for which showed that recruiters spent 80% of their time looking at:


Current position: start and end date, job title and company name

Previous position: start and end date, job title and company name

Educational achievements

The remaining 20% of the time was spent looking for keywords in the document that show you match the job description. If they found enough to pique their interest, they placed the CV in the ‘suitable’ category. 

Please see full details of the study here.

Seven ways to make your CV more fit for purpose

There are some clever tricks you can use that make it easy for the recruiter to find the information in your CV that says you are perfect for the role.

Your name should be at the top of the page. Include any acronyms that are relevant to the job you are applying for to quickly show the recruiter you have the necessary post degree qualifications.

Recruiters use key-word matching technology. One in four recruiters has software that automatically weed out CV’s that do not contain enough of the keywords listed on the job advert. If the job advert is for Prince 2 Project Management and you are a Prince 2 project manager/ half-way through completing your course, then mention it. Even if the recruiter does not have the software, they are likely to control+F your CV and look for the presence of those keywords.

What are other people in your profession saying? Let’s say you’re an accountant in a medium sized manufacturing organisation and want to progress to being the head of accounting in a similar company. Check out LinkedIn profiles of people in similar positions. When you find one which stands out to you, analyse it to understand what it is that appeals to you and apply that method to your CV.

Linked in profile. Social media is set to influence more and more recruiting. Market analysis studies have shown that companies have put aside 28% of their recruitment budget to optimise their social media presence. And around 60% of recruiters say that candidates social media pages influence their hiring decisions. So include your linked in details as recruiters love to have a nosey at them. You may also like to read about how to market your CV on Social Media.

Your job titles, dates of employment, company names (including a one-line description of what the company does) should be formatted differently from the rest of the text, so it jumps out. This could be something as simple as putting this information in bold.

Have a core competencies section. Include a bullet pointed list of the skills the recruiter is looking for that you possess in this section. For instance, if the job requires someone who can program in PHP. Instead of burying this skill amongst other text, stand it alone in a bullet point.

Be succinct. If you have gone over two pages, you need to edit out any duplication and then make sure every word you include needs to be there. A good rule is: if it is not necessary to include it, then it is necessary to remove it.   

What is your overall message?

When you have done the above, step away from you CV for at least an hour. When you come back look at it objectively. Ignore the typo’s and formatting issues, look at its content as if you are a stranger to it. Maybe even get a friend to do it. List the key skills the resume is shouting out. Are they the key skills the recruiter’s looking for? If they are not then rework the CV till it is the perfect advert for you. Here are some more tips on how to write a professional CV.

Job as a Tutor : If you wish to work as a tutor, read guides such as this How to Become a Tutor to help you take the best steps to getting your dream role.

Need help?

If you would like further advice on how to apply any of the tips above or would like one of our professional CV Writers to review your CV then give us a call on 02032877719 or email : and we will be happy to assist.


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