How much is your CV worth?

How much do you think your CV worth?

Leah RadnanskiFinance

20% of people spending less than 10 minutes on a job application

It is fairly well known that most recruiters don’t spend long evaluating each CV that passes their desk.   However, if you are a candidate and have spent ages researching the job and the company, updating your CV and doing everything you can to make it shine, then I can understand why you might get annoyed if you think it’s not been given sufficient consideration.  However, if you didn’t spend much time on it then perhaps it gets what it deserves? 


This is why I was particularly interested to learn of a survey conducted by major job-board, Fish4jobs*. One of the key questions Fish4jobs asked in their survey was how much time do people actually spend preparing their job applications? This was to include all the time involved - writing a cover letter, searching more information about the role/company and updating your CV. Fish4jobs offered respondents the choice of up to 5 minutes, up to 10 minutes, up to 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, two hours and more than two hours (and also ‘don’t know).


The results were interesting: 58% spent less than 30 minutes on each application and of these 5% admit to spending less than 5 minutes, and a further 16% spent less than 10 minutes.  If this is replicated across job-seekers generally, then one fifth of people are spending less than 10 minutes on each job application they make.  A further fifth spend up to an hour and beyond and then the remainder (17%) spend up to two hours and beyond (with 4% who don’t know).


What was particularly striking about the Fish4jobs’ results is that far more men than women spend only a short time on their applications.  Of the total number of men surveyed, 25% spent less than 10 minutes, whereas the equivalent figure for women was 16%.  At the other end of the scale, 15% of the total of all men surveyed spent over an hour on the application compared to 21% of the women.


In addition, Fish4 reports that in general older people spent longer on their applications than the younger generation, possibly because they have grown up in the era of paper-based applications and are more used to taking time over such matters, whereas those under 25 may never made a paper application! 


Equally interestingly, more (60%) ‘passive’ candidates than active jobseekers (57%) spent 20 minutes to 2 hours’ preparation time. This makes sense: passive candidates, when motivated to apply, probably spend longer on their application because, unlike active candidates, they don’t do it so often.  Is this is why some recruiters think passive candidates are often better than active candidates, simply because their applications, having had more time spent on them, look better?


All of this begs the question, is there a correlation between time spent on job applications and then getting the job? Almost certainly, and as an experienced recruiter I’d recommend that if you really do want a particular job you need to put as much as you can into preparing your CV and application and tailoring it to the job in question.  It may be onerous, but it will be worth it!  The old adage about ‘fail to prepare and prepare to fail’ is spot-on!


Leah Radnanski, Director, 9-20 Business Services



This article is based on a previous blog by Fish4jobs. Thank you to them for permission to do this and make reference to their research.


*Key stats from the Fish4 Research: 


                   Research carried out 17 Dec ’14 to 9 Jan ’15. For the question about time spent on job applications, there were 608 responses.

For the whole survey, the male/female split was 52:48; the age distribution was 16-24 (18%), 25-34 (24%), 35-44 (20%), 45-54 (24%), 55 and over (14%).

40% were in full-time work, 17% were in part-time work, 30% were unemployed, and 13% were students, retired or a homemaker; 67% were actively looking for a new job, 28% were not looking but would be open to a job offer (the so-called ‘passive’ candidates) and 5% were not looking for a job.






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