The seven-second CV test

21 May 2021

Our CV will give potential employers the first impression of who we are – it’s what will separate you from the other candidates and give you a shot at the job. You can rewrite your CV over and over, but it never seems to get right or good enough. However, there is a secret that not many are aware of, but studies have shown that employers look for about seven seconds at your CV. So, what’s the secret? Your CV has to be convincing enough that seven seconds will do it for you. During those seven seconds that the potential employer will spend looking at your CV, you’ve got to be convincing enough. What makes your CV convincing enough? 

Short and sweet

Perhaps it goes against the general idea but keep your CV short. A good tip is to aim at just the one page. Keep in mind that whoever is going to receive and check out the CVs, won’t have yours only. What would you rather read, a whole book about a person or just a brief summary? In addition, remember why the reader is reading your CV – they are looking for the values that you could potentially bring to the company. There’s no need to add a lot of detail about your life experience, remember - value! Once you’re done writing it, go over it again and see if there’s anything extra, that you could do without. Next, reread it once more and see if you have any space where you can show who you are as a person, rather than just the academic history and qualifications. 

Everything is about you

Think of the CV as a film poster – it has to show who you are. A poster hints at the tone of the film and its genre and the CV has to work in the same way. It has to convey your personality. Don’t forget that the brain sometimes still judges the book by the cover! Be smart when writing it up – don’t underestimate the power of words. Be careful of which words you use. Think about its layout. Consider making it logical, simple, aesthetic as well as directional. Consider which structure you want to go for that will help you deliver the points you want to put across and focus on the important information. 

Don’t underestimate research

We’re not talking about research about building up your CV but about the company you’re applying at. Wait, isn’t this supposed to be done before the actual interview? Not just. The CV will need to get you through to the next round of selection. Look up the recruiting firms and learn more about their values and the job description. Use this opportunity to let that description reflect it in your CV. 


Nowadays, companies are looking for leaders, not followers. This will offer the company versatility. If your position is within a team, a leader would be beneficial to the company! That’s why it’s important to list any previous experiences where you were a leader and use it to demonstrate the type of leader you are. If you can easily show that you’re a good leader in short and follow the previous points, you’re likely to pass the seven second test. Keep an eye out on your email and phone, you may receive an interview date soon!