Tailoring your CV to individual roles is absolutely crucial in the current job market. Your aim is to stand out, and a cookie-cutter CV is not going to help you do so. Recruiting agencies can spot one a mile away, and do not find them either professional or convincing, so follow these tips to make yours unique to each role for which you apply.
If every job posting was the same, there’d be no need to modify your CV. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. They will have been written with an ideal candidate in mind, so make sure you read each one through thoroughly so you understand the precise requirements and responsibilities. You need to answer the implicit questions within each job posting, so print each one out and keep referring back to it as you write. Make sure that you’re responding to each point.
A CV should come with a covering letter, or it could just be sent
straight to a certain person via mail or, more commonly, email. If you
can get the name of the person who will be reading it, you’ll have
impressed them right away. See if you can find that information by
looking online; Twitter profiles and company ‘About’ pages are usually
useful in this regard. Alternatively, phone up the company and ask who
applications will be addressed to.
Forbes estimates that recruiters only spend an average of 6.25 seconds looking at a CV.
That means that they are scanning instead of reading, so you need to
think in terms of keywords. Try reflecting the most unique ones used in
the job ad itself, then work them into your own writing. You should
normally look at keywords that link directly to the role, not just
generic attributes like ‘ambitious’.
You should never lie about prior experience, but you can cherry-pick
the facts that you share. If you’re looking for office work but
previously worked in a restaurant, talking about how you had to make
customers feel welcome isn’t ideal. Instead, write about all the tasks
you had to do at once, then emphasise the numerical skills that were
Employers want to find the right person, so they’ll write a job ad to
attract them. A successful candidate will be the one who meets the
requirements they set out, so don’t aim in the wrong direction.