Does your CV pass the seven second test?

Have you ever wondered on average just how long it takes for an employer to shortlist your CV? Seven seconds. Yes, you have read that correctly, in just seven seconds an employer can form a judgement on whether to take your application further or not. For such a short amount of time, you want to make sure your CV is impressionable and creates enough of an impact to get you shortlisted.


Your CV is for the employer, not you

The first point to remember is that your CV is for the employer to read, not for you. Put yourself in their shoes and ensure all the information they need is there. Have you remembered to include your name? Have you left contact details for the employer to get a hold of you? It may seem obvious but these are the minor details that are easily overlooked sometimes. Be aware that not everyone will know the meaning of previous titles for your roles so avoid using acronyms and instead describe the job.


Tailor your CV and grab attention

Employers have a plethora of applicants to get through. To be in with a good chance of getting shortlisted, your CV needs to stand out. First of all, tailor your CV specifically to the company and the role you are applying for. Whilst it is fantastic to have completed many qualifications and gained lots of experience, ask yourself if it is all relevant to the job in question. If you can link your experience to the role then that is great, however, if you are struggling to find a connection then we advise you to leave it out. At the same time, you are looking to impress and attract. Any exceptional achievements you have made should definitely make an appearance on your CV when relevant. Employers always like to read about applicants who have gone the extra mile before, for example, this could be volunteer work. If you can include impressionable information then the employer will be more likely to remember you when selecting applicants to interview.

Be unique and leave out clichés. Your “hard worker” attitude and “quick learner” skill has already been read numerous times by employers, so be specific when writing about yourself rather than using broad descriptions. Use data and facts to back up how you are a hard worker as opposed to just saying you are one.


Easy to Navigate Format and ‘K.I.S.S’

The hiring process is lengthy as-is and so employers do not want to exert more time and effort than they need to. This is where ‘K.I.S.S’ comes into place, “keep it simple, stupid”. Keep your CV short and sweet. There is no set “one size fits all” solution. Every applicant is different and companies are likewise, therefore we cannot say what length is the standard because it is situational. Do not stress about shortening it too much that you cut out key information, as long as you stay on track. Get to the point and do not try to emphasise a role by exaggerating your experience. Articulate your words and you will impress with the simplicity of your application. If you are fortunate enough to have completed many qualifications then be sure to include the most relevant and recent ones. For example, if you have completed a masters degree, a degree and a-levels then you can save time and space by leaving out your GCSE results.

Make sure you use an easy to navigate format too. Include correct spacing and subtitles so the reader can easily pinpoint each section of the application. Nobody wants to have to put effort into finding the information they want. You are the one aiming to impress the employer, not the other way around, so don’t make them work to find reasons why you make a good candidate. Before the employer even gets to read any information, the layout alone will make an impression. Too much text can be overwhelming and not enough white spacing is off-putting. The layout is crucial for catching the eye; do not let the employer dismiss your CV before they have even read it.


ABL Recruitment team