The 7 seconds of CV Reading

  | 4 min read

Owing to the ever-increasing number of job seekers, the job market has become highly competitive. A single advertisement on job sites and company websites can elicit over 150 applications from eager candidates. Some industries are highly popular and they possess low barriers of entry e.g. sales. Such industries might receive over 300 applications for a single advert.

To a human resource professional on the receiving end of these applications, it is, without doubt a rather daunting task looking for the perfect fit in a sea of applications. The human resource experts have, therefore, grasped CV reading skills that allow them to skim through CVs in 7 seconds or less, for what they consider important. This is the stage where CVs are shortlisted and proceed to the next stage. This means that as a candidate you have 7seconds to convince the person skimming through your CV that you are worth the shot.

You have to ensure that you are aware of what a recruiter looks at when skimming through your CV and understand what catches their attention. Below are the areas that will make your CV stand out;

Your CV Format

The recruiter has limited time and if they find your CV format difficult to decipher, it will go down to then bottom of the list. Ensure that the format you use is appropriate for the particular industry, and that it is simple to read.

Highlight the Important Sections

It is important to ensure that the important sections in your CV are clearly highlighted on the first page. Details like your bio data i.e name, address, email address, telephone number should be clear. Avoid non-important details like your height, tribe, and marital status. Questions about them will be asked if the interviewer deems it necessary.

Apart from your bio data, information about your qualifications, skills and work experience should be touched on in the first page of your CV. Your current work experience should be highlighted as it is of more importance to the recruiter.

 Highlight then tittles in your work experience

It is important that you clearly outline roles and timelines in your work experience. When looking at your work experience, the recruiter seeks to know what positions you held in different companies and for how long. Lack of this information makes you look dodgy and raises red flag. Also, this is another reason for your CV to go to the bottom of the list.

Turn-over is a factor

How long you last with various employers is crucial information for any potential employer. This is because it usually sets a trend in your professional life and it is a clear indicator of how long you might last if hired. Do not let this hinder you from getting your dream job. Separate your internships and short term contracts from your permanent positions to avoid the illusion of short tenures.

Be thorough

Little things have the potential to make or ruin your first impression. Be careful and thorough to ensure that dates are correct, the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed. Typos and bad grammar will definitely make your CV an eyesore.

 How to grab attention with your CV

Taking care of the above pointers puts you out of harm’s way, but still doesn’t guarantee shortlisting. To ensure that you get the chance to showcase your suitability as a candidate in an interview, you need to convince the recruiter that you are the solution to their business’s pain.

Understand the company by going through their website and other resources. Such information will help you formulate relevant and informed answers and to align your solutions with the company’s existing operations. It will make you more relevant if you can support the information in your CV and cover letter with significant points of action on how you will be of value.

When talking about your skills and achievements, be specific. For instance, stating that you possess customer service skills or interpersonal skills is cliché. State how you reduced customer complaints in your previous company by X%. Figures catch the attention of the reader and they will want to know more.

Such compelling information should be what the potential employer sees first instead of tired CV phrases present in every other application they receive.

Finally, customize your CV for each application to ensure its relevance and to avoid cluttering it with unnecessary information, which may ruin your chances of nailing that interview.




  1. i realy wanted to apply using your apply now button but whenever i am trying it keeps bouncing back in my profile

    • Hello Gloria, please check your network connection or try changing the browser you are using. That could work. Thank you.

  2. Great and inspiring advise thank you very much however, my concern is about a person who has only been a volunteer in different organizations whether their experience matters when it come to their CV and how to present it otherwise am grateful for the unfailing effort displayed by Brighter Monday in adding value to the job seekers

    • Hello Moses, even if you have been a volunteer in many organisations, you simply having that shows that you actually have experience which many organizations seek today. You are much better than one who has not volunteered anywhere at all.

  3. It will be of great help if a sample Curriculum vitae is uploaded;this will help us to compare the ideal phrasing with our own way of writing and vocabulary usage.

  4. Thanks concern is about experience..what do i as Remmy who just completed the university with no experience do to apply for jobs? It looks like every job asks for experience which me as a just concluded student doesnt have

    • We advise that you look out for more voluntary or internship positions. Many may not be able to pay you much but will surely give you that much needed experience you need.

  5. Hello my concern is about a person who has been working with different organizations but without appointment letters for example working as a mobile money agent. Is it also necessary to put in the CV

    • We believe whatever job experience you have acquired is important with or without an appointment letter because you would have acquired the most important things which are skills and knowledge from that job and therefore you need to include it in your CV.

  6. Am in serious search for a job especially for Regional sales manager in beverages. Am employed as a sales supervisor in Riham groups. Can you help me out within the shortest possible time
    A reward awaits

    • Hello, simply visit our website, click on the search icon and look through all the available vacancies we have. You can even subscribe to get real time email alerts. We do not take any rewards for our service to job seekers.

  7. Am in serious search for a job especially for Regional sales manager in beverages. Am employed as a sales supervisor in Riham groups.

  8. Am in serious search for a job especially for Regional sales manager in beverages. Am employed as a sales supervisor in Riham groups. I request you to help me out on this

  9. We kindly request for asample curriculum vitae to ease our work. Other wise thanks for everything Brighter monday

  10. it much appreciated to have these wonderful mentorship to upgrade our level in writing appication .Thank u so much.

  11. Thx I appreciate your support try to avail us volunteering jobs for us fresh graduates to gain experience

  12. I appreciate your guidance, however i have not been invited for interviews for any of the job opportunities advertised through your website. But with the guidance i have received am confident that i shall soon be invited for an interview.

  13. I have applied several companies but am not yet through they adviced me to write American CV also I do please I need help

    • We have a CV template on the side of this article that you can download to further guide you.

  14. i dont think i can regret why i chose to subscribe to brighter monday its really educative. thank u

    • The internship application sample is similar to the normal job application sample. We have these on our site just right on the side of this article you will be able to see some templates you can download.

  15. As a student who has accomplished his course of Industrial purchase and supplies what process should I use to get myself a job.just without experience

    • Well if you are lucky to get a job why not go for it. If you do not have a job you can start by creating your own to get some experience.

  16. I greatly appreciate your career advice and tips. Do you offer CV writing services? Kindly link me up with an expert who can help me in this regard.

    • Thank you. It is our pleasure. You should be able to see some Cv templates on our website that you can be able to download and refer to.

  17. Please Brighter Monday, I w’d like to know how I can upload my C. V on Brighter Monday’s Job site
    Kind regards

    • All you have to do is simply click on the job you are interested in. You will be able to see an “apply now” button where you can upload your Cv and apply for the given job.

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