Recruiters read CVs in less than 10 seconds
That is the fact. You cannot fight it. You have to use this knowledge and make your CV sell you in under 10 seconds.
Crafting a CV is marketing , branding and eventually a sales process. You have to have an opening line that will intrigue the reader to read the second line. That second line must emphasize your best achievement ever. That is your selling point. That is why are you worth talking to, and investing in hiring you. If you fail to mention that at the very top of your CV – you might as well stop sending it out.
The way we consume the data on the web today is what you should think of when writhing a CV. Endless amount of data, and you scan the headlines for the words that might interest you. You click on those most interesting titles and read the first line or two. While doing that you evaluate the content, and in more cases than not, click on something else on that page or back in your browser. then read the whole article. Now let’s go back a step. Based on the first 2 sentences you decided if you will read the whole article? Yes!
Recruiters do the same. They look at new CVs every day. Day in day out. As well as 90% of us that rarely go further that the 1st page of the Google search results, recruiters are no exception. They only look at your first page. The first page of your CV. The length of your CV is actually irrelevant. If your first page does not sell you, and make the recruiter interested – you might have written a bestselling book from the page two and it will never be read. Front covers sell magazines and newspapers. The first page of your CV sells you. Or it doesn’t!
How does a recruiter look at the CV
Think of a recruiter as a matchmaker. He needs to find a CV that fits the job description of an open position. What a recruiters does in his head is similar to a tag cloud. There are certain skills, experience or education required for each job. Location of the candidate, language and similar characteristics of a candidate might have less impact on hiring decision but are still a factor. If you manage to show the required experience and skills for the job the recruiter is sourcing for in your opening line, you are over the first hurdle. The recruiter will keep on reading. If you failed to convince you are the perfect candidate on the first page – your CV goes to what is commonly called a Black Hole.
The top half of the first page of your CV is what the recruiter actually sees. Regardless of your CV being printed or previewed on the screen, whatever is not on the top half of the first page have fairly slim chance of being seen ever. Each sentence starting from the first one have to be excite the recruiter. It needs to show the exact match of your skills and experience to the position recruiter is hiring for. It needs to list your accomplishments in previous roles that are relevant or exact requirements for the role recruiter is working on. Every word in this top part of your CV is super important. This is no space to write poems. Short sentences combined with up to 4 bullet points work the best here.
Remember that we read from left to right. As on the Google page Heat Map, your own CV Heat Map will look exactly the same. Your name might attract a few eyes. The lines below with your address and contact details – absolutely none. The next line is your most important line. In fact the first words in that line are the ones where the recruiter actually starts reading. This is what he sees first. This is the first seen most remembered line by a recruiter. Describe yourself in a single short sentence here. Almost twitter stile. This is a line that if written well a recruiter will use when calling a hiring manager and saying: Listen, I have a great CV here for your role. He is a Start-up telecoms CTO with 15 years in the mobile OS development experience. Think of covering all the angles. Think of tags. Think of keyword staffing. Then make it all in one shortest possible English language sentence.
You next one should be the highest achievement of your work life ever. The recruiter will remember it as: ‘This is the guy that did that!’. That is the heart of your sales pitch. This is what distinguishes you from all the other CVs with the same position titles, same experience and education. There are tons of CVs with Project Managers. But there is one:
The strong second line needs to be followed by either similar achievements or the further details of that first one. Make sure that every sentence has a gem in it. You have to excite the recruiter, you have to make sure he does not go to the next CV before contacting you first.
If you make a recruiter read the top part of the first page of your CV you have done extremely well. There is only two places your CV can go to from here. Either you are shortlisted to be contacted for the interview, or you are going to the pile a recruiters always have with just good CVs. The good CVs are of those people hat a recruiter would like to hire, but doesn’t have an opening currently for such a person. If you manage to make your CV memorable – you will be contacted the same day a position you would fit opens in the company. Agency recruiters keep those good CVs, and show it to their best clients regardless if an opening exists. You simply become recommended by recruiters to their best employers. Jobs that arise from such inverted recruitment process are usually the best fit.
Hey love this sentiment Ivan – something I have banged on a lot about myself – in fact I wrote about it last year! – I referred to it as `Optimizing the CV` – in the way that you optimize a webpage to attract the reader’s natural reading points.
Great to see it echoed.
why would you not want to give your candidate the best chance of getting the position. Optimise the CV to get the HR to pay more attention its just good sense.