How long will a hiring manager or recruiter spend reading my CV?

Recruiters and hiring managers have their own rules on how much time they will spend reading through a candidate's professional CV. For a specialised role or more senior role, a HR Manager will receive much fewer CV applications and are more likely to read through entire CVs. How long will they spend on a role, though, that receives over hundreds of CV applications? Is it realistic to think that they are going to read through every single CV?


Time is always scarce and reports suggest that a hiring manager will generally spend no more than 20-30 seconds analysing a candidate’s CV.  If they cannot find the information they are looking for immediately, or your CV writing is not presented, structured and formatted correctly chances are that your CV will be deleted. This is the cut throat world of job seeking. Make a HR Manager guess and your CV is sure to end up in the recycle bin.


Times have changed and with competition for jobs so intense the responsibility of writing the perfect CV is more important than ever.


Why isn’t the hiring manager reading through my entire CV?

In an ideal world, a team of HR representatives would sit down and together go through every CV that they receive for a particular role. The HR team would analyse every person and read through every page of each CV with a fine-tooth comb. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Managers are under pressure to fine the right candidates in the shortest amounts of time. In many cases, a hiring manager or recruitment agent may be sourcing multiple jobs and therefore may be receiving hundreds, if not thousands, of CVs. A former colleague of mine was once recruiting for 15 different roles and received more than 3000 CV applications!


How can I make my CV stand out from the crowd?

With such limited time for your CV to stand out to the potential reader, you need to focus on highlighting your achievements and the value-added skills that you can bring to your next job. Often times, people remain fixated on listing all the daily duties they perform in a particular job. From a hiring manager's point of view, being able to perform the job is expected - this does not make you stand out from the competition. The hiring manager wants to know that if they hire you for the job, you will not only successfully fill your duties, but you will also bring a whole range of skills to the business.


Five tips to making your CV shine:

  1. Use strategic keywords throughout your CV (if the business is using software programs to read through the CVs, make sure that your CV will be noticed)
  2. Target your CV toward the job and industry you are applying for. One size does not fit all!
  3. Turn your responsibilities into “achievement statements”
  4. Use examples to back up your statements
  5. Quality over quantity


© RedStarResume Publications - 


During the last decade, RedStarResume has successfully written hundreds of professional resumes for candidates across the globe. From the student or entry level position to the CEO, our unique, custom-made resumes are written specifically to match the goals and desires of our clients and to help them land jobs.


RedStarResume is #1 for CV Writing and CV Writing Services


Views: 1675

Comment by lisa rokusek on October 20, 2011 at 6:55pm

My rule of thumb is 10 seconds.  I think hiring managers decide if they will spend time on a resume within that window.  


I make presentations with that rule in mind.

Comment by Gavin Redelman on October 20, 2011 at 7:35pm

Wow Lisa you only give 10 seconds .... I always thought I was brutal in only giving 20 seconds :)


Comment by Ron Kubitz on October 21, 2011 at 10:52am

Very simply put I read a resume long enough to know whether it excites me and meets my qualifications or whether it bores me and does not fit our needs. This can honestly take like 5-10 seconds or I may end upreading the entire resume no matter how long it takes!

Comment by Brian Pho on October 21, 2011 at 11:06am

Very Simply put: Anyone that says, "Over 20+ years of experience" or "Over 30+ years of experience" means something to a recruiter.. Too experienced which will most likely not lead to a hire.... We all can read between the lines... on that one...



Comment by Sandra McCartt on October 21, 2011 at 11:38am
Maybe 10 seconds. If I get a good scan in terms of not too much flowery crap at the top, decent stability, industry fit, position fit, dates of education, no gaps or one of those with half the career experience left off, I will do an in depth read. No dates or functional format..delete , next.
Comment by Valentino Martinez on October 21, 2011 at 12:11pm

No one reads a résumé  in seconds--they scan a résumé in seconds.

Reading a résumé and scanning a résumé are two different dynamics.  When you are reading a résumé you have actually found what you're looking for and thus are inspecting for confirmation of what your initial scan caught on the first go-round.  This can take as long as it takes.

Scanning a résumé can take seconds because if nothing--no word, word-combo, acronym, odor, color, etc—catches your attention, you can blow past a résumé in a moment long enough to say, “AAAaaaaahhh, No.

Comment by Bill Schultz on October 21, 2011 at 12:27pm

@ Brian- yes, it is not something you should begin with.  I also tell my candidates to drop the word "seasoned" unless they are a pot roast.  

Comment by Valentino Martinez on October 22, 2011 at 12:24am

@Bill, Not only am I seasoned...I am a recruiter for all seasons and reasons.

Comment by Ivan Stojanovic on October 24, 2011 at 6:04am

@Gavin - the only time you will spend 30 seconds on the CV - is when you have only one CV for the role you are hiring for! :)


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