Here's what recruiters focus on when they're reading your CV

A study has tracked the eye movements of recruiters to see what they look at the most during the six seconds they're glancing over your CV.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 08 Jul 2014

Ever wondered why you didn’t get a callback for that job application you thought you were perfect for? It turns out it could be that your CV just wasn’t very eye-catching, suggests research by US jobsite TheLadders.

According to the website, recruiters spend a grand total of six seconds reviewing each CV.

Ordinarily, considering the research is basically selling TheLadders’ professional CV-rewriting services, MT would ignore it – but one thing caught our eye. The company tracked the eye movements of recruiters over a period of 10 weeks to see what they look at the most. Here’s a heatmap of its findings:



The study found 80% of a recruiter’s time is spent looking at your name, current title/company, previous title/company, previous position start and end dates, current position start and end dates and education.

All that other stuff you’ve spent hours crafting – the skills that make you look like Indiana Jones on his day off, the introductory paragraph that makes you sound like a cross between Steve Jobs and James Bond? It turns out that they’re not as important as you thought. It’s your career that really counts. But you knew that anyway.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Has the cult of workplace wellbeing run its course?

Forget mindfulness apps and fresh fruit Fridays. If we really care about employee wellbeing, we...

Cybercriminals: A case study for decentralised organisations?

A study shows that stereotypes of organised criminals are wide of the mark.

Why your turnaround is failing

Be careful where you look for advice.

Crash course: How to find hidden talent

The best person for the role might be closer than you think.

What they don't tell you about flexible working

The realities of ditching the nine to five don't always live up to the hype....

The business case for compassion: Nando's, Cisco and Innocent Drinks

Consciously, systematically humane cultures reap enormous benefits, argues academic Amy Bradley.