Job application strategy: Learn to think like a recruiter

content think like a recruiter

The more you can understand the mindset of the typical recruiter, the better you can steer your application to getting a positive result. The recruiter, be that an HR Manager or recruitment consultant, is generally the decision maker you are looking to influence and provoke a reaction from. This is your target audience. Everything revolves around them.


Many recruiters are timed pressed. It is likely that on first sift, just a few seconds will be spent skim reading your CV. Just think of all those hours you may have spent honing your masterpiece only for a decision to be made in the blink of an eye. This is the reality of the recruitment process. This is the first thing you need to be aware of.

Access information easily

Because so little time is spent reading a CV you need to make sure the CV is easy to navigate, structured logically, and that all the information is easy to read and absorb. Start with large, neatly labelled headings. Ensure sufficient white space to allow the CV room to breathe. Write in a punchy, concise manner. Use bullet points to break up information.

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Relevance of the information

Quite simply, the more aligned the CV is to the specific requirements of a role, the more it is likely to resonate with the reader. Reading the criteria in the person specification and showing how, where and when you have demonstrated these is going to go down very well with the recruiter. Mirror the words and phrases used by the employer too, this again show empathy with what they are looking for.

Examples of high performance

Giving specific examples of achievements is just the evidence the recruiter needs to aid their decision making. Applicants who only cite a list of duties are likely to fail. Those that tell their own story and illustrate their successes with examples are most likely to succeed. If achievements are supported by facts and figures then even better. After it, it’s all about outcomes.

Contact details

Make sure you include both an email address and telephone number in your CV. If a recruiter needs a quick answer to something they might want to give you a phone call. This is a good thing, once you have struck up a conversation the application immediately becomes much warmer. Use your personal email address rather than work email address for job applications as this looks better.

This article is written by Neville Rose, Director of CV Writers.

CV Writers are the official CV partner to ACCA Careers.

In addition to a CV writing service they can help with LinkedIn profiles, cover letters and interview coaching. You can get things started with a Free CV Review.

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