CV writing — Qualify the 6 seconds rule

Ruhi Mahajan
3 min readMar 30, 2018

CV making is not an art, neither is it a skill. In all, it’s just a manner in which one can portray one’s current and past professional tour. There are a few must DOs and a few must NOTs for it, rest everything can be tweaked depending upon the profession one works in, tenure one has worked for, position applied for, etc.

Basically, while making a CV just ensure you prepare one to pass 6 seconds rule by the recruiter. When you’re an active job seeker, have sent in your CV just by clicking on the ‘Apply’ tab on the company sites, your CV becomes absolutely important to put up the first impression. Your being just another CV in the Recruiter’s ATS, not much odds are stacked in your favor, unless your CV actually catches attention and Recruiter feels the need to dive in more.

So, in the process of reviewing hundreds and thousands of CVs, any CV that seems most readable, succinct, properly formatted, and requisitely highlighted/ hyperlinked buys a Recruiter’s time.

To make it easy to grab, I’m diving the CV making process into four categories

  1. Content/ language
  2. Content Placement/ Presentation
  3. Highlights/ Hyperlinks

Before beginning to elaborate on each of the points above, the most important point being, to take a clean/ well spaced CV template. I find the two-column templates easy to read and fill information in. After having the template handy come, the content and presentation.


What Should Stand out

  • Experience (preferably in reverse chronological order)
  • Key Skills acquired/ Tools used/ Technologies should be mentioned and highlighted (keywords)*
  • Projects and achievements (stating the impact your role put in the company)
  • Numbers and stats are an icing on the cake
  • Highlight the the numbers, % — the achievements you made in your previous company, what changes happened because of you.
  • These keywords actually catch Recruiter’s attention.

What is no longer relevant (if you have more than 12 months experience)

  1. College awards not very relevant since it’s been a couple of years.
  2. Internships are no longer relevant (reduce priority)
  3. Marks and grades in college


Resume should look readable as a whole, CLEAN.

  • The recruiter decides in 6 seconds whether or not she/he wants to go through the resume.
  • Choose a nice template — easy to skim through
  • LaTeX resume templates are very readable. Lots of whitespace.
  • Recruiter will not waste more time than absolutely necessary.
  • Words don’t matter, as much as Presentation does.
  • Should be BRIEF.
  • Use bullets with short sentences <5 words.

(Otherwise they look like paragraphs which no one wants to read. The current resume makes every point look like a huge paragraph. Each point should be short and easy to read. Anything that requires paragraph is off-putting.)


  • Leverage hyperlink to avoid unnecessary explainations to establish context
  • Links are clicked on by HRs. It’s nice to know that there is a place where more information about the point can be read.
  • Blue and underlined

Things NOT to include in your CV

  • Philosophical details (things which are not measurable). eg: handled a very critical part of the software development.
  • Bad/unprofessional email address:
  • Business jargon. Every business has own custom terms. Like: Handled SWIFT_v4 code of the software and moved everything to TNK
  • Old school long text objectives
  • Keep basic things like; MS word, communication skills out of the skill section

And, once all the points above are taken care of, heads up for a clean font. Have a happy CV making.

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