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Gain Useful insight into Danish recruitment processes Part 2

Which do you think employers read first? - Your CV or your cover letter? And which screening criteria do Danish employers use to identify interesting candidates?

Which do you think Danish employers read first? Your CV or your cover letter?

80 % of all employers read the CV first (Ballisager 2018). In less than 2 minutes, the reader should be able to learn if you match the requirements for a specific job, so take your time to perfect and target the information in the CV. If your CV does not contain matching and relevant information, the reader may not even proceed to your cover letter.

Which screening criteria do employers use to identify interesting candidates?

The Ballisager recruitment survey was voluntary and posted to 1663 companies. The respondents were 934 Danish companies, of which 71% are private and 29% are public.

The figure shows graphically 88 % of companies explores work experinece, 49 pct. length of employment or education.

Work experience

As could be expected, work experience is first explored. The recruiter will want to know where you gained your experience, what your main tasks were, what you accomplished and how you did this.

Tips: It may be evident to you, that you have the right skills for a job, but recruiters sometimes struggle to see this. The more detailed you describe your experience, the better the reader understands your strengths. Do not only focus on tasks, but do also share your achievements and key learnings. Take your time to explain what you did, but also how you did it.

Select your listed tasks wisely and do not overload your CV with tasks, which are not relevant in relation to the job you apply for.

If you have lengthy gaps in your work history, you may wish to explain why. Eg. maternity leave, relocation to another country.

Length of employment

Almost half of the employers are interested in the length of your employment. It is costly and time consuming to recruit a new employee, and if you have had many short-term jobs, employers may assume that you are easily bored and may leave the job within a short period of time.

Tips.: You may have faced cuts and layoffs, or you may just recently have started your career by internships, etc.  If this is the case, it is a good idea to mention and explain this in a few words, to avoid speculations.

You might also decide to list your work experience by only mentioning start and end year, and avoid mentioning the months.


Education is an important screening criterion too. However, public institutions seem to place greater emphasis on education than private enterprises.

Tips: List your education after mentioning your work experience and stick to the same format as  you used in your work experience. If you are a graduate with limited work experience, you may wish to mention education first, including a few matching key learnings.

You may also include training courses, but only the ones that are relevant to the specific job.

All formal education should be included, also education you may not have completed. Recruiters would like to see how your spent your time. Do not try to hide such information from the reader – it is OK to have changed track.

Source: Ballisager. Rekrutteringsanalysen 2019

Read the whole rapport in Danish (new window)

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