Top Tips to Effectively Tailor Your CV for Each Job Application

With such high pressure on the employment market you need to make sure your CV is doing everything to boast to recruiters of your suitability for vacancies. Candidates are frequently tempted to submit the same CV for numerous jobs. Although this may make it easier to apply for many more jobs, it significantly reduces the likelihood of your application being seriously considered for the next stage.

Even if you apply for many jobs with the same title, the companies will prioritise aspects of the role differently, and will have different expectations of the skills and qualities required to fit into the vacancy. It is therefore vital to tailor your CV to each job.

But don’t panic! Making a targeted CV does not mean you have to start from scratch every time you want to apply for a different job. Tailoring your CV is about understanding what priorities the recruiter has in terms job skills and personal qualities, and then highlighting that you have these.

Related: 10 Tips to Improve Your Cover Letter and Get Your Application Noticed

Read our tips to effectively tailor your CV for each job application.

Obtain a copy of the full job advert including person specification if its available, and then take the time to read it all. Too often candidates read the title and skim over the details of a job advert and immediately send in their CV.

Make sure you really understand the job requirements, and then consider whether your CV demonstrates to the recruiters that you have these skills. Ask yourself,

#1 Does my CV highlight the key requirements for this job?

If the answer is no, then you have to address this by cutting and pasting information around on your CV or adding further details of the skills or knowledge that you have. A new reader should be able to pin point at least five key skills on your CV that match the job description within 10 seconds. If not, your CV is unlikely to get a second glance.

#2 What else does my CV need?

It is unlikely that you will be able to demonstrate that you have every single skill or necessary experience for a vacancy. Don’t pretend to yourself that the employer won’t notice that you’re missing this experience. Start by considering whether you have similar experience or transferable skills that you can detail on your CV. Alternatively acknowledge in your cover letter that you do not have these skills, but indicate you are keen to take on this role and develop yourself.

Related: How to Format Your Cover Letter for Job Applications

#3 How should highlighting be done?

The recruiter is going to take just a few seconds to decide whether to continue reading your CV or set it aside. Make sure that the most relevant work experience is therefore at the top of your CV. It is not unreasonable to embolden key words to draw the recruiter’s eyes to specific content to ensure the most relevant items are highlighted.

Furthermore cut out the work experience or information which isn’t relevant to the role. This will ensure that the recruiter is not bogged down in unnecessary information, and can pick out the experience that truly is relevant. Remember your CV is not a comprehensive list of every job you have ever had. If there are no skills listed that match the job description, then it isn’t necessary to put on your CV.

photo by: agnieszka

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Jessica Lamb
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