Why you should tailor your CV to the job
One of the biggest mistakes a job seeker makes when writing a CV is to make it too generic. With this type of approach little thought goes into what the employer wants from a candidate, and ultimately what they expect to see from a CV.
What role, what skills are required, what experience, what qualifications, what industry…?
Knowing your audience is the key to success if you want to get that all important job interview. Here’s why you should tailor your CV to the job, and a few tips on how…
It will grab the attention of the reader
A great CV will grab the attention of the reader instantly, and hopefully make them want to read more and put you on the ‘yes’ pile. But how do you do that?
First and foremost you need to ensure your CV is written with the role and the business specifically in mind, rather than just completing each section with your information as it currently stands. Every part of your CV has to relate to the job advert to ensure the reader instantly recognises that you are the right person for the job.
Use keywords and phrases from the job advert in your CV
This might sound like a very unsubtle way of showcasing your CV, but this is a tried and tested method of ensuring the reader instantly notices you have the right skills, experience and qualifications. Grab some paper and a pen and make a note of all the keywords listed in the job advert. The type of words you are looking for are, dynamic, hard worker, willing to do overtime, skilled machine operator, sales experience, word and excel knowledge, etc.
Once you’ve jotted down a list of all these great keywords from the job advert, you can now begin to incorporate them into your CV so the recruitment manager can easily identify the skills and qualifications they are looking for. But don’t forget to also provide evidence of your claims as the hiring manager cannot just take your word for it.
Include figures and results to back up your performance so the employer has a clear indication of what you’ve achieved.
Now that you’ve made their life easier, what next?
Highlight the relevant skills, qualifications and experience
Whatever the employer is looking for in a candidate must be brought to the forefront and highlighted wherever possible. There is no point in simply listing all of your skills, qualifications and previous work experience in chronological order if they are not relevant to the role.
In some cases you may even want to consider removing certain things that are just not needed. However, be careful not to remove a past job from your time line as it will create a suspicious gap in your work history that could be off putting. Instead, only provide details for the roles which are relevant, and leave your other positions with just the title and a brief description.
Above all else, consider how the reader will review your CV and how easily they will find the right information. Don’t worry about being too obvious with how you highlight this relevant information, as it’s all about making sure the reader instantly notices you are the right person for the job.
With literally hundreds of CV’s to read, you will be lucky if your gets longer than 30 seconds, so why not take advantage of that small window of opportunity.
Jen Wiss-Carline has been a Senior Manager and Consultant for several sizeable companies which included dealing with all aspects of staff management and recruitment. She is also a Solicitor and Chartered Legal Executive, having been admitted as a Fellow in February 2006.