Two businessmen poring over papers, graphs and résumés at a wide mahogany desk.
Image: © mrmohock/

This is what a recruiter actually sees when they open your résumé

2 Nov 2018

When you’re on the job hunt, your résumé can either make or break your career prospects. Here’s what a recruiter sees when they’re reading it.

When you’re on the hunt for a job, your résumé is one of the most vital tools in your arsenal. Knowing this, almost every jobseeker views their résumé with a mixture of fear, awe and dread. Yes, it’s possibly the key to a better future, but with great power comes great potential to make a huge mess of things.

You’ll obsessively pore over your résumé searching for an errant typo. Your eyes will get dried out staring at your computer screen as you break up a paragraph and then put it back together again.

To pile on the pressure even further, a recent study from IBM stated that HR representatives spend as little as six seconds looking at an application. It’s an impossibly tiny window in which jobseekers have to make a strong enough impression to proceed to the interview stage.

When you’re mulling over font choice, you may be overwhelmed by the sense that you don’t really know what you’re meant to be looking for. Fortunately for you, you no longer have to wonder as StandOut CV has created this infographic detailing exactly what a recruiter sees when they look at your résumé.

Andrew Fennell, director of StandOut CV, agrees with the IBM finding: “One of the most important points to remember when writing your résumé is that recruiters see hundreds of résumés every week and are very short on time to review them. They [can’t] possibly read all of them in full. To ensure that you pass the initial skim read of the résumé, you need to make it an easy read by using a clean, simple format and breaking text up as much as possible.”

Ensure that all the content above the fold contains the main salient points relayed succinctly and clearly, Fennell advised. It should contain the most in-demand skills and knowledge for your target role.

For more advice for making your résumé stand out to a recruiter, check out the infographic below.

how a recruiter reads your résumé infographic

Infographic: StandOut CV

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Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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