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What is the 7 second CV test?

Posted on 18 August 2021

What is the 7 second CV test?

​8-minute read


There are several articles and blogs out there claiming that recruiters on average spend just 7 seconds looking at your CV. We are not entirely sure where this original source comes from as we spend a lot more time here at Peritus Partners, but we thought we would entertain the idea and help you pass this alleged test with your CV.


Reading this opening statement might annoy you on some level, you have probably spent hours writing your CV, to only have someone glance over it in a few short seconds. However, appreciate some companies receive hundreds of applications per opening, they need to make quick judgements and crafting your CV in the right way will help move your application forward, despite having such little time to impress


We don’t necessarily agree with the 7-second test, as we like to really get to know the people we work with, but you may decide to apply for other positions outside of Peritus Partners, therefore this article will hopefully assist you in those application processes.


Keep it short

The length of a CV has been a hot topic for some time. Some claim that having a one-page CV is the right way, whilst others choose a longer version. We fall somewhere in the middle, although we agree the shorter the better to help pass the 7-second test, too short will have an adverse effect in our opinion.

We recommend having a CV that is two pages, maximum three (depending on your total career experience).

Two pages allow for detail to be included without the information being too cramped. Remember, we like visually appealing CVs, not just loads of content. Two pages allow for ample white space and logical formatting which we will touch on in a moment.


Logical format

Logical formatting is key to a successful CV. You have 7 seconds to make an impact, therefore choosing an easy-to-read structure that utilises clear headers and highlights key points will allow the reader to follow your experience and thus help draw conclusions quicker.

We highly encourage you to structure your CV in reverse-chronological, starting with your current and most recent experience and working backwards to your earliest position.

Recruiters are drawn to the most recent projects, therefore putting these towards the top of your CV will help draw them in during those first initial seconds.


Capture the reader’s attention

Where possible, you should tailor your CV to the opening you are applying for. Over time you will collect project examples or work experience that might relate better to a specific opening, taking the time to adjust your CV and highlight something in your past that could benefit or make your transition into the new company easier will always make you stand out during these first few seconds.

The 7-second test is mainly about scanning for something to draw the reader in. Keeping the CV short and having a logical structure will help, but using terminology and keywords in your application related to a specific technology and/or industry will make the recruiter want to read on.

We wouldn’t recommend going buzzword crazy for the sake of drawing the reader in, but highlighting your experience in the right way will show the recruiter your knowledge and encourage them to want to dig deeper with you.


Avoid waffle

One of our favourite sayings is ‘avoid the waffle’ and no, we are not referring to those delicious dessert treats, although they are amazing. We often tell our partners as your CV should be treated as prime real estate, every aspect of your CV must be worth its weight in gold, do not include things that do not add value to your application, simply to fill some space.

Take your time writing your CV, formulating your examples and have experts, friends or family members check over before your start submitting it. Use the support network around you to help guide you, just don’t take it personally, everyone is here to help.


Now before we close this article, pause for a moment, and count out 7 seconds from now…


It goes quick right?


Too quick in some cases.


Keep referring back to this article to help iterate your CV, or reach out to us today for more specific advice and if you need support looking for a job right now. We hope this article has helped in some way, if you feel someone else could benefit from it, please share it among your network.

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