How to Skim Read a CV Like a Pro

We are all busy, and when we want to recruit, and we start to get CV’s through, we can be guilty of skim reading just the bits that stand out.

This is fine, and some CV’s are very, very long so you can be forgiven.

But, how do you make sure you are finding the gems when you do skim read a CV?

  1. We would always recommend starting with the candidate’s introductory paragraph. Read all of this. It’s them setting the scene, it’s the dust jacket blurb that should make you want to find out more and read the rest. If they don’t peak your interest here, it’s going to be tricky to spark any enthusiasm for them.
  2. Think back to the job specification/description. What key experience, skills or qualifications do you need a person to have – not the nice to haves but the real must have requirements. Look for these on their CV. If they don’t have what you really need, you don’t need to read anymore.
  3. Read about their current job – is it a good spring board into your role? If it’s a yes, great, read on. If it’s a no, before you write them off just quickly check through their previous roles, do any of them fit? Do ask yourself though if you need direct experience of what you do, or if you could train someone with experience in a similar field.
  4. Look for the journey – most CV’s will show a pretty clear journey and progression from a person’s first job until present day. If the applicant has gaps in time, lots of very short stints in jobs or very varied job roles one after another – this can ring alarm bells. Does there seem to be good reason for the hopping or stopping? If not, it’s time to move to the next CV.
  5. What have been the main achievements? What are they desperate for you to know they did, achieved, got an award for etc? Do these align with your business need?
  6. If you like them by this point, have a read of their interests or hobbies. Do you think they sound like a good personality fit for your business?


By this point you should have a shortlist of people who you would like to find out more about. You may have some reservations and unanswered questions, but you can address these issues in a face to face interview.

Remember, using Vanilla, we do the initial shortlisting process for you. We’ll only ever send you CV’s for people we believe could be a great skills and personality fit. This saves you time and effort when recruiting.

For more information about how we can support your recruitment, get in touch.

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