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How tailoring your CV will help you get the job
Got a CV? Here are some tips for making it more personable to employers.
What you will learn
- Why tailoring your CV is important
- How to use the job description properly
- Tips for organising your CV and nailing the design
- How and when to include your social media accounts
What you will need
This article will be most useful to those who have already started a CV. Don’t worry if it’s a work in progress.
If you usually send out the same CV to every employer, you’re not alone. But individual employers look for different qualities and experience in a potential employee.
For example: say you've trained as a car mechanic. It may be that not all your skills are desirable to a supermarket employer. But if you have worked as a car mechanic, you will have shown:
- good customer service
- problem solving
- attention to detail
- listening skills
- solid organisation (e.g. checking off deliveries)
These skills are very desirable and would transfer nicely to a supermarket role. If you only mention your mechanical qualification in your CV, the employer may not understand how your experience meets their needs.
That's why demonstrating all the ways you fit the job description in is so important.
Our 'Get Noticed' webinar covers the foundations of CVs and covering letters, helping your to stand our from the crowd.
Use the job description
Most companies will include a job description when they advertise opportunities. Job descriptions are a great resource for tailoring your CV. You can use them to show employers how well your skills and experience fit what they’re looking for.
If you’re not sure what skills you have, our Skills Discovery can show you.
Take some time to examine the vacancy information, taking note of the following details:
- do they ask for specific qualifications?
- what training or experience do they want you to have?
- what sort of knowledge and skills are they looking for?
- does your availability match the advertised days and times?
Take care to look for any repeated words or phrases too. When you write your CV, make use of these words and phrases to show that you match their criteria.
Organise your CV
A company needs applicants who have a specific qualification, and you have it! Should you keep this information at the bottom of your CV?
A personal profile at the top of your CV is a great place to put your most relevant skills and qualifications.
Tip: Put this information under headings like ‘Skills’, ‘Experience’ or ‘Training’ in reverse chronological order (staring with the most recent).
Employers may read lots of applications for one role. The quickest way of shrinking the pile of CVs is to check who meets the basic requirements of the job. Make it clear you have what they need.
Other skills and achievements
You may have skills or achievements which don’t relate to the job description but show other great qualities you have. There is a place for this information in your CV but other details are more important to employers.
Putting your unrelated skills and achievements at the top of your CV detracts from your job-specific ones. Keep these near the bottom and they can be picked up during an interview.
Generally, the style of your CV is dependent on the role you’re applying for.
For less creative roles, having a clean, professional layout will be preferred:
- start with your name, and how you’d like to be contacted – an address, email or phone number (your website or LinkedIn profile could also sit here if you have one)
- use a plain, clear font
- use bullet points instead of long sentences
- ensure you do not have any spelling or grammar mistakes
- break up your CV into sections with headings (see above)keep your CV to 2 A4 pages
- avoid photographs
Use social media to your advantage
Your social media profiles might enhance your application and you can give links in your CV. But you do not need to.
LinkedIn allows you to build a professional, online social media profile and connect. You can then add skills to your profile and showcase them to employers.
If you have a different kind of online presence, such as a website, blog or online portfolio, your CV is a great place to mention it.
Remember, employers may try to find your social media at any stage of the application process. Make sure your privacy settings are up to date and your profiles complement your CV – not contradict it.
Some other articles you may find helpful
A well-written cover letter will make employers pay attention. Find out how to write yours with our guide.
Learn how to come across well to your future employers and secure that next stage interview.
Describing what you’ve achieved can be tricky. Our tips will help you come across your best.