Recruiters often get lots of CV’s to read for each vacancy. The first thing they do is to make a quick first selection. This first selection only takes them about 7 seconds. Needless to say it is crucial for your job application to pass this first 7 seconds CV check. What do recruiters look at in this quick scan of your CV?
1. Overall Appearance of your CV
The overall appearance of your CV document might not be the first selection criteria, however it is the first thing a recruiter will notice. If you have a messy CV layout it will be hard and frustrating for a recruiter to find the information they are looking for. This will immediately affect your first impression. Keep your CV layout well organized and easy to read. Avoid lengthy paragraphs and long sentences on your CV.
2. Your Last or Current Job
Recruiters expect a career to evolve progressively. Therefore the latest or current job is the first thing a recruiter will focus on when scanning your CV. Your job experience should include the job title, the company name, and the period of employment and a short description. Use bullet points to sum up your tasks and responsibilities to keep your CV easy to read.
3. Other Job Experience
After checking your latest or current job. Most recruiters will do a quick scan on your earlier work experience. Not all positions should be described in detail. In case a job is not relevant for the job you are applying to, just mentioning the job title, company name and period of employment is sufficient. However if you have had previous jobs that are more in line with the job you are applying for than your latest job, you have to emphasize this on your CV.
4. Your Level of Education
The next thing recruiters look for when they scan your CV is your general level of education. As soon as you have some work experience to show on your CV, recruiters will always check your work experience first and your education second. When you are applying for a starter position recruiters will look at your education first. Another exception is when the job you are applying to requires mandatory diplomas or certificates.
5. Keywords that match the Job Description
Most recruiters use a checklist when they go through the CV’s. They are looking for keywords that can confirm that you match the job criteria. These are not mystery keywords, you can often find these keywords in the job description in the job post. Find the keywords in the job post and apply them in your CV where possible.
6. Your Personal Details
On the first scan, the eyes of recruiters will certainly stop for a second at your personal details. Just to give them an idea of the basics, like your name, whether you are a woman or a you’re your area of residence and your age (in Europe that is, however it is not recommended to add you date of birth on a cv or resume in the United States). Make sure to add your contact information so recruiters can immediately contact you if necessary.
If your CV makes it passed that quick first selection, it will be read again but more thoroughly and also your Cover Letter will be read. You should give your CV more substance than just sufficient for the 7 seconds CV check, but always make sure your information is relevant for the job that you are applying to. Keep your CV easy to read and make a lay out that clearly divides the sections of your CV.