Does your CV Pass the Six-second Test?

Do you think your CV would catch the attention of the head of a candidacy in less than 6 seconds?


Do you think your CV would catch the attention of the head of a candidacy in less than 6 seconds? If you do not want to fail in the attempt, we review some considerations that you should take into account.

Nowadays, it is not easy to develop a CV that stands out from the rest, draws the attention of the personnel in charge of the selection of candidates and adapts to the needs and preferences of the company and its vacancy. It is necessary to be visual, synthetic, original, flashy and honest, reflecting in the least amount of space possible – or using a creative format – the experience, training and professional profile of the candidate, adding value and differentiating from the rest of the candidates to achieve longed for interview

On many occasions, a large percentage of the CVs are not reviewed in a first screen by the human eye, since many multinationals and recruitment companies advocate the use of the so-called ATS (application tracking systems), software that “scan” the curriculums they receive online to make a first selection of candidates based on keywords. The purpose of these systems is to automatically eliminate most of the candidates who do not correspond to the requested role. In this way, only 3% of those who apply for online employment come to contact a recruiter.

And when recruiters look at the chosen CVs, they do not usually spend too much time on each one. In fact, a study indicates that if you do not get the attention of a recruiter with your resume in less than 6 seconds, you’re lost. To be worthy of that small fraction of time, you should take full advantage of the format and content. We give you some keys for this:

  • White space makes it easier to read: The more empty space there is on a page, the easier it will be for someone to read what is really in it. In addition to being synthetic, the design should be clean and minimalist, since the visual overload will make the recruiter skip reading your CV. A general rule is you should never use a font lower than 11 points.
  • Stick to the facts, goodbye flourishes: To free space in the document, you must eliminate all the florid and subjective text where you try to magnify your achievements or use a flashy language to describe your skills. “I took X project forward supervising a team of 20 people with a budget of 500,000 euros” is more effective than poetic and imprecise flourishes. The numbers are not only the easiest to read when a resume is scanned, but they are also the most likely to be remembered by the recruiter.
  • Permanent update and personalization: Instead of wanting to impress, focus on the needs of the recruiter and shine several versions to find the right one. It is also important that you adapt it to the role and characteristics of the vacant position, make an X-ray of your skills and competencies related to it and attach a concise and impressive letter of presentation that reinforces your chances of being selected.