Gavin O'Meara, FIRP, FCIM, BA (Hons), CEO and Head of Digital, FE Careers and FE News

7 Second Rule: Scan read your CV and Keywords for Recruitment Databases

How to make sure your CV makes it through pre-qualification.

You are probably aware that the amount of time a Recruiter, HR or manager hiring  spends on looking at a CV is literally seconds during the initial pre-screening stage. There are varying amounts of seconds quoted... but in general it is usually under 10 seconds and I have personally found your CV has about 7 seconds to set your employers World alight.

The 7 seconds, is just a review of your CV. Once you have over come the 7 second initial pre-screening hurdle, your CV will be read time and again and looked at in very close detail.

So how do you pass the 7 second pre-qualification review? I have two strategies for you:

Ask a friend strategy

Ask a friend or family member outside of your work circle or profession to read your CV. Give them just 10 seconds... can they tell what your job title is? Can they quickly tell what you roughly do in your job?

After 10 seconds (I would literally time them), if they can tell you your job title and a couple of sentences on what you do in your job... then fantastic (and please skip down to the Importance of keywords / buzz words for Recruitment Datatbases section later in this article).

If they can't tell what you do, nor your current job title, this too is good as you can now make the adjustments to overcome this.

If your friend can't tell what you can do, have a look at your CV on a laptop, monitor or big tab. You can also print the CV - but within 7 seconds you will probably only see the top third of your CV. So here is where you need to focus.

Also does your CV format quickly open?... you don't want to loose precious seconds with your CV downloading if it is too data heavy or not in an standard industry file format (you can't expect recruiters to download new software to open your CV).

There is a very strong likelihood that your CV will first be seen by a administrator, secretary, PA, HR Administrator, Recruitment Resourcer... someone with fantastic admin skills, but maybe not a detailed knowledge of the job you are applying for. You need to think of your CV in two layers, one for your future boss and one that provides an easy overview for someone with a basic understanding of the role that you are applying for (so they will pass on your CV to the recruitment / industry expert).

So your friend who doesn't have an indepth understanding of your job role or what you do for a living is a perfect tester for this situation. 

Is your Job title clear? Is your geographical location clear? Do you have a profile or short paragraph at the top of the CV where you can briefly put a few lines stating your job role, number of years experience and area of expertise?

The profile is also a great place to drop in a few industry keywords... but it needs to make sense to the employer or recruiter as you are writing a CV to impress your future employer - not be full of jargon.

I hope you find this Tip useful.

Gavin O'Meara, FIRP, FCIM, BA (Hons), CEO and Head of Digital, FE Careers and FE News

Gavin is a Fellow of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals and also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. He has over 18 years recruitment experience. Gavin launched FE Careers and FE News back in 2003, since then FE Careers has gone on to consistently be the largest specialist job advertising site for the Further Education, Apprenticeship / Work Based Learning and Employability sectors with over 1,250 job adverts live per day with college jobs, independent training providers jobs and a range of vacancies with specialist FE Recruiters. FE Careers has been the digital recruitment channel for the sector for the past 14 years. 

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