How tailoring your CV will help you get the job

Learn how to tell potential employers your best bits using our CV support.

What you will learn

  • What a CV is
  • How to create a CV that aligns with the job you’re applying for
  • Tips for impressing an employer

What is a CV?


A CV is an opportunity to tell an employer about your education, skills and work experience. You send it to employers and organisations to apply for jobs or volunteering opportunities.


Sometimes you can apply for a position with your CV alone – other times you may be asked to send it along with an application form. Either way, it’s important that you have one and keep it up to date.

Creating a CV that aligns with the job role


As CVs are structured documents, you can make a good start simply by including the essentials:

  • Your contact details
  • strengths/skills/achievements
  • Job history
  • Your education

However, every employer and industry looks for different qualities and experience in a potential employee. That’s why personalising your CV to fit the job spec is extremely important.

Before you put pen to paper

Read the job description

The first thing you should always do is examine the job advert – how do your skills and experience fit what this company is looking for?

Look for the key skills they outline and consider how your past relates to them. Are there any key words that repeat? Take note of any important phrases. When you create your CV, use the same language to show them that you match what they’re asking for.

Consider the best way to order your CV

When you write your CV, you can lay it out in different ways depending on what you want to highlight.
For example: if a job description says that a company is looking for a specific qualification, and you have it, put it at the top of your CV.

Similarly, if an employer wants you to have experience or training, use the job description to prioritise when to include this information.

You may have skills which don’t relate to the job description but showcase other sides of your personality or skillset – it’s still ok to include these in your CV. Our advice would be to keep these near the bottom. This means that they’re still there and can be picked up at an interview, but they don’t detract from your job-specific skills and attributes.

Design

Keep your presentation and writing style clear and professional within a CV to give an employer the best impression of you.

There are some exceptions to this – if the role you’re applying for is creative and requires you to be good at design, illustration or writing, reflect this in your CV. Adapt your CV to prove that you have the skills an employer is looking for. This will increase your chances of getting an interview.

Social media

You don’t need to give links to your social media in your CV. But if you’re applying for a company with a strong social media presence, sharing links to your social media can be a good way to let the employer find out more about you.

Employers can try find your social media accounts using the information you provide on your CV anyway, so monitor your online profile and set your privacy settings so that you can be confident that what any potential employer sees is professional.

LinkedIn can showcase endorsements you have from other people which can be useful and an immediate alternative to more formal references.

Showcase your skills and strengths, education and qualifications

Remember that all your experiences have helped you develop skills that are transferable into lots of jobs. (See our Transferable Skills article for more info.) If you’re unsure what yours might be, take our Skills Discovery tool and receive a full skills report based on your job and volunteering history.
Remember, not every skill you have will be relevant to your job role. 

Some other articles you may find helpful

Impactful cover letters

A well-written cover letter will make employers pay attention. Find out how to write yours with our guide.

How to sell yourself in applications

Learn how to come across well to your future employers and secure that next stage interview.

How to describe your achievements well

Describing what you’ve achieved can be tricky. Our tips will help you come across your best.