Once you’re committed to finding a new role and applying for numerous jobs online, it can sometimes become very time-consuming and tiresome. So often candidates are tempted to use the “scatter gun” approach and fire off the same CV to scores of vacancies, without even reading the job advert. Although this method may increase the quantity of jobs you apply for, it will greatly decrease the quality of each one.
Even though many of the roles you are applying for will be similar, no two jobs are exactly the same so you should tailor your CV accordingly to reflect the requirements of each job. After all, it’s better to send one strong targeted application, than ten poor applications.
CV tailoring doesn’t mean you have to re-write your entire CV for every application; it can actually be done fairly quickly once you’re familiar with the process. Tailoring your CV is about understanding which of your qualities are most important to a particular vacancy; and adjusting your CV to make them prominent to that particular recruiter.
Using the following steps, you can tailor your CV to ensure that it has maximum appeal to every employer you send it to.
Read the entire job advert
Most candidates will see a job title they like, skim through the requirements and excitedly send their CV over without even double-checking their CV to make sure they have highlighted all the relevant experience.
When a job advert catches your eye, don’t rush in and send your CV straight over in an attempt to beat the competition with speed – instead, focus on beating them with quality.
Take a few minutes to really understand the job requirements and compare them with your CV. Imagine you were the recruiter for this role and reading your CV for the first time… Does it match up with the job specification?
Before you apply, ask yourself;
Can I immediately see the key requirements for the job on my CV?
If not, then you will need to move some of the information around or add some skills or knowledge that you’ve left out.
What is my CV missing?
You won’t always tick every box for a vacancy and it’s important that you understand your shortfalls so you can combat them. If you’re missing certain experience or knowledge from the requirements, then you need to be creative and think about similar experiences or transferable skills that you can highlight in your CV to ensure you still look like a good fit on paper.
Tweak your CV profile
As your profile sits at the very top of your CV, it will be the first thing a recruiter sees and makes judgement on. If the most important skills required for the job cannot be seen in your profile, some recruiters will move straight on to the next CV without reading any further.
Your CV will obviously be targeted towards one type of role, but some employers will value certain qualities over others. You need to determine which skills are most important for the employer in question and include them prominently in your CV.
For example if a job advert states “2:1 degree or higher is essential!”
and you have a 2:1 degree, then you need to ensure the recruiter knows about it.
Don’t leave your degree hiding at the bottom of your CV in the education section; mention it in your profile too, so that the recruiter can instantly see you have that essential requirement.
Be selective with your first role
The first role on your CV is very important because it’s the first example of your work that recruiters will see, so they place a great deal of value into it. In most cases you will list your roles in chronological order, starting with the most recent – but you don’t always have to stick to this rule completely.
In some cases your most recent role might not be particularly relevant to the role you’re applying to.
For example, if you are a recent law graduate applying to legal firms and currently working as restaurant waiter; then your current role will not interest legal employers particularly. So in this case it would be better to be a bit creative and list some university work placements or projects at the top of the experience section to make the CV appear more relevant.
So if your current role isn’t quite relevant to the role you’re applying to, maybe you could add another role such as volunteer work, freelancing or work placements to tailor your CV accordingly.
Cut down on irrelevant information
The information you omit from you CV can be just as important as the information you include. If you have large sections of your CV being filled up with skills and knowledge that are not being mentioned in any of the job adverts you are responding to; then it would probably be a good idea to cut down those sections slightly.
You don’t have to completely remove them, but reduce the level of detail slightly to give yourself more space to write about the skills that are actually being asked for in job adverts.
For example, if your work history from several years ago is completely different to the industry you are currently working and progressing in, then it’s OK to cut down your older roles to one line summaries as your current target employers will not want to read about them in great detail.
Tailoring your CV for every application does take a bit of extra time and effort, but it will pay off as each application you make will be of a high standard and greatly increase your chances of getting shortlisted for interviews.
Extracts taken from CV library.