Make your CV easy to skim

7 tips to make your CV easy to skim

Hiring managers and recruiters are notoriously short on time. Ensure your CV is formatted so they can skim the best bits.

Make your CV easy to skim and no matter what length of time a hiring manager has to spare, you can be sure they’ve seen the best bits.

Hiring managers and recruiters are notoriously short on time. So, it’s important that the most impactful and relevant information can easily be garnered when they skim your CV.

Let’s tackle tips that will make you make your CV easy to skim.

7 changes to make your CV easy to skim

  1. Left-align everything

It might be tempting to centre your section headings, but this will impact the readability of your CV. The eye naturally returns to the left margin when a person is ready to read a new sentence or scan for the information they are seeking. Make it easy for the recruiter by left-aligning all text.

Lady reads on how to make your CV easy to skim

  1. Don’t justify the text

Ever used the justify button (Control+J) in Word? It aligns text to both the left and the right margins, adding as much extra space between words as necessary to stretch the sentences between both sides. While it may look neat, as your copy occupies the same sized space, it does not help readability. In fact, uneven spaces between words will make your CV harder to skim.

  1. Bold only one type of information

Bolding text is a quick way to make your CV easy to skim. However, don’t be too generous with your bolding. Choose just one information type to bold, such as a job title or company. Consistently following a set rule in your CV will help the reader see the pattern and ascertain the information quickly.

  1. Keep bullet points to a two-line maximum

Bullet points are a great way to improve the readability of your CV. When using them under section headings, ensure you maximise the first few words of your bullet point and keep them short and sweet. When a recruiter is scanning a CV, they will read the first few words to understand the importance of a sentence, and their interest will tail off the longer the bullet point.

Learning how to make your CV easy to skim

  1. Use white space to separate your bullet points

Even if your bullet points are short and sweet, using some white space can help improve readability. The ideal spacing could be adding “Spacing after: 6pt” in the settings.

  1. Use lines to separate sections in your CV

Lines are a good way to create white space and ensure information from one section is not confused with information from another. It can also prevent your CV from looking too ‘blocky’. It’s your choice whether you choose to have these lines opaque or transparent.

  1. Create a separate ‘skills’ section

You will mention your skills throughout your CV, particularly when listing your experience and accomplishments in the career history section. However, to reiterate and highlight your skills, combine these into one section. That way, you can be sure the recruiter won’t miss it.

Sticking with these basic guidelines will help the hiring manager or recruiter to make an informed decision about your application, and quickly move you through to a phone screening or interview stage of the recruitment process.


Related insights

Access the latest on hiring trends, people + culture and putting your best foot forward.