How to Tailor Your CV to Each Job Opening

How to Tailor Your CV to Each Job Opening

When a recruiter looks at your CV he or she is looking for evidence that you can do the job; that’s why you should tailor your CV to each job. Here’s how.

Now you have all the elements of a great CV but you need to put them together into one document and most importantly you need to target your CV to the job you are applying for.

With so much competition for each job or work placement, you really need to stand out from the crowd and make sure your CV ends up off the reject pile. The trick is to tailor each CV to the placement or company you’re applying for. By tailoring your CV, you can turn it from an OK to an excellent CV.

Employers don’t have the time to interpret the information in your CV and translate the job requirements laid out in the job advert. If you don’t do this for them your CV could end up in the recycling pile.

It takes time for an employer to interpret the information in your CV and translate it into ‘answers’ to their specifications. They can’t afford this time. We’ll show you how to do it for them.

When writing essays, we were all taught to keep coming back to the question as a means of staying true to the point that is supposed to be argued. Do the same with your CV – use the job advert as the essay question and ensure that you don’t drift too far from that defining concept. Keep looking at the words used to describe the ideal candidate and respond to them.

Print out the job description and keep it beside you when you write your CV. This will really help you stick to the requirements of the prospective employer.

Examples of Tailoring your content to the Job Description

Example job description

‘Candidate must be a self-starter with strong organisational skills and an ability to stay calm under pressure.’

Tailored response

In my time at PA Copy Direct, I was consistently working towards a deadline in a highly pressured environment. Articles needed to go out on time and the grammar needed to be accurate.

My sense of initiative and ability to self-start has allowed me to graduate from university with a strong portfolio of work already under my belt. As a way of getting practical experience, I wrote many feature articles for the university newspaper and student magazines.

Don’t just relay your tasks and responsibilities in previous roles, detail the skills and achievements gleaned through these duties particularly those relating to the job you’re applying for.

Example of job description

‘PA needed for NHS Director. Ideal candidate must be super efficient and organised. Proficiency with Microsoft Word and Excel would be beneficial as would experience of working a busy switchboard.’

Tailored Response

Computer Skills

Due to the the nature of my degree (BA English Literature), I have used Microsoft Word on a daily basis for three years and I am now at an advanced level. I am also at an intermediate to higher level on both Excel and Microsoft Outlook, thanks to my previous role at Abbott Recruitment where I was solely responsible for answering the office emails.

Organisational Skills

My role as Receptionist and Branch Administrator with Abbott meant that I was required to be extremely organised. I oversaw all general administrative duties within the office, including diary management and travel arrangements for the seven recruitment consultants.

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