Your CV is the first chance to capture the attention of your future employer. It’s the easy option to send your CV off for multiple roles during the job search, but hiring managers will instantly reject CVs on the basis that the information included is irrelevant to the position. After all, would you employ someone that puts little effort into their application?
To get past the first hurdle, it’s important to tailor your CV to the role you’re applying for. Here, we provide some key tips so you can master the process.
Focus on key skills
Hone in on the desired skills a business is asking for in a job advert and mirror these in your previous work or academic experience. Candidate requirements often appear in a separate section of a job advert but sometimes it might not be as clear-cut. Read the job advert thoroughly to pick up on the core skill set and experience level an employer is looking for. For example, if the desired candidate has ‘exceptional interpersonal skills, with a strong attention to detail’, clearly state how you have developed these skills using bullet points, mentioning them first so they catch the eye straight-away.
Search for similar roles
Build up your knowledge about the key responsibilities for the job you’re going for by searching for similar roles on job boards. Often, job adverts don’t go into detail about each and every responsibility so searching around will help you to get a fuller understanding of the position. Demonstrating these areas on your CV could mean you include capabilities that other candidates have failed to mention!
Research the company culture
If you’re applying directly to an organisation, take the time to do some background research on their careers website. Getting a sense of a company’s culture could mean it’s appropriate to include additional interests or achievements that fit with their philosophy. For example, if team-building and collaboration are core parts of their ethos, it’s a good idea to talk about sports clubs or networks you’re involved in. Similarly, a strong focus on social responsibility would mean charity work or social initiatives at university would be extremely relevant to include.
Having previous industry experience means you know how people in that industry tick, how things operate, industry-specific terms and concepts, as well as the industry culture. Emphasising this knowledge can help you get your foot in the door and at interview stage quicker.
Find out how you can emphasise this knowledge in the best way by watching this short video below:
Think about the industry
Maybe you don’t tick all the skills boxes for a role, but you have previous experience working in the industry. Even if it’s an unrelated role, make sure this speaks volumes on your CV. Where there are some skills that you may need to work on, having previous industry experience means you know how people in that industry tick, how things operate, industry-specific terms and concepts, as well as the industry culture. Emphasising this knowledge can help you get your foot in the door and at interview stage quicker. On the other hand, if the industry is new to you, state what attracts you to it in your personal statement so hiring managers can see you’re a passionate candidate worth interviewing.
Use specialist resources
Tailoring your CV can be trickier when you don’t know what companies you want to apply for. If you have an idea about the types of roles that appeal to you, there are reputable resources available, such as Prospects, that give you an insight into what you can expect from a career, including typical skills requirements and key responsibilities. This will help you to take stock of your own skills and shape your CV to match. There are specialist consultants recruiting for your area of interest around the clock so tapping into their knowledge can help you to prioritise those headline professional skills on your CV.
Sending a tailored CV is the first way to show you’re serious about the job. Read our expert tips on making your CV stand out from the crowd here.