How recruiters read your CV

May 05 2016, 0 Comments

In order to land a job, it’s likely that your CV will have to be reviewed and approved by a recruiter.

If you understand what recruiters look for in a CV and the challenges they face in securing good candidates; you will stand a much better chance of creating an interview-winning CV.

We’ve created this simple infographic to show you how a recruiter reads your CV, and how to adapt it accordingly, if you want to land more job interviews.


How a recruiter reads your CV

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Firstly, recruiters must be persuaded to open your CV

Recruiters receive an average of 118 CVs for every job they advertise so it’s sometimes impossible for them to open every one they receive.

When a job is popular and completion is high, a strong cover note is needed to ensure that your CV is opened.

So every time you apply for a job, you should take a few minutes to craft a cover note that is specifically tailored towards the role.

The goal of the cover note is simply to persuade the recruiter to open your CV

  • Keep it short and sharp to hold readers’ attention; 2-3 sentences should be enough
  • Explain how your skills match the job requirements to show your suitability and the value you can add
  • Address the recruiter by name and write in a friendly tone to start building a rapport


Recruiters scan for relevant content

With high volumes of applications and strict deadlines to fill vacancies, recruiters can’t read every CV from top to bottom.

So, they spend 6-10 seconds on an initial scan of your CV and decide whether it is worth reading in full.

Essentially they will be checking to see if you have the basic requirements for the role before they invest any more time into your CV.

For your CV to pass this preliminary test, ensure that you are making it easy for recruiters to see that you are a strong candidate for the role:

Ensure that your CV is easy to read and looks professional

  • Use a simple clean font
  • Clearly divide the sections in your CV for quick navigation
  • Break text up with short sentences & bullet points

Ensure that key information is highlighted on your CV

  • Relevant skills and experience should be prominent, especially at the top of your CV
  • Show how your work impacts employers to demonstrate the value you can add


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Recruiters focus on your current role

The area of your CV that will receive the most attention from both recruiters and hiring managers, is your current or most recent role.

Your present role gives employers the best idea of your current abilities, so it will be studied in great detail.

Make sure that you include lots of detail to give readers a well-rounded explanation of the role and what you have achieved for the organisation

Elements recruiters will be looking for include;

  • Your position within the organisation
  • Overall goal of your role
  • People you interact with (managers, suppliers, customers etc.)
  • Tools/software used (IT packages, machinery, hardware etc.)
  • Work produced (reports, websites, physical products etc.)
  • Targets and achievements


Recruiters look for numbers

Recruiters like to see the value that a candidate can bring to an employer in the form of facts and figures.

If you can quantify your achievements, it gives recruiters an idea of the scale of value you can add

The following quantified achievements are good examples

  • Generated 150 unit sales in 3 months
  • Resolved 95% of complaints in 24 hours
  • Cut department spending by 15%


Recruiters scare easily

Recruiters have to maintain good relationships with hiring managers and clients by providing high quality candidates to vacancies.

Providing just 1 bad candidate to a hiring manager can ruin a recruiter’s reputation and sometimes even deter the hiring manager from working with the recruiter again

For this reason, recruiters are very careful about the candidates they recommend and the smallest errors or inconsistencies can deter them from shortlisting you.

The types of CV mistakes that will scare recruiters include:             

  • Unexplained gaps in employment
  • Spelling and grammar mistakes
  • Unprofessional CV formatting


Now that you have had an insight into the world of recruitment, you should be able to make some improvements to your own CV.

For more help, check out our Ultimate CV Writing Guide with free CV template download or speak to us about our CV writing service for a full professional re-write of your CV.


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