Tailoring your CV

Tailoring your CV Tailoring your CV Tailoring your CV Tailoring your CV

Whether you are applying for jobs at a time when unemployment is high, which means that more people compete for jobs advertised, or at a point when you don’t feel it’s as competitive, one thing is for sure: the importance of tailoring your CV to really show an employer how your skills match the job advertisement is pretty crucial.

Remember, applying for a job is a process you can own and control, so follow the insights and tips in the article to increase your chances of progressing to an interview.

How do I tailor a personal statement?

When it comes to tailoring your personal statement, ask yourself: What are the kinds of skills that the job advert asked for? Make sure you consider those key words and how you can add them to your personal statement. This is one of the first things that recruiters will see, so spend time getting this right. Have a listen to the film below to get some useful insight.

What tips are there for tailoring a CV?

  • Take your time. Rushed applications that are not personalised can give the impression that you don’t care about getting the role
  • Check for errors: double-check details like the company name and the name of the person you are contacting when sending your CV, and ensure you catch any spelling or grammar errors that may have otherwise slipped through
  • Tailor, tailor, tailor—it makes more sense to submit five tailored, specific, well-thought-out CV and applications that will stand out to employers than 10 generic ones that are far less likely to get you noticed
  • Align: Remember to make sure your LinkedIn profile, if you have one, is consistent with the experience you are highlighting
  • Speak their language. Make sure you know what the employer is asking for with our job ad glossary and respond so that the person reading can see exactly how your skills and experience match. There will be specific words and phrases they use to describe their ideal candidate, so reference these in your CV or application
  • Sell yourself: Write your CV in a way that focuses on the positive impact of your day-to-day work. Verbs like ‘transformed’, ‘delivered’, 'produced', and ‘organised’ help to clearly demonstrate your action and its impact. Check out a sample CV with more detailed tips.
  • Keep it relevant: while you may want to include every little bit of experience you have, it’s important to grab the employer’s attention, which means putting most emphasis on skills and experience that are specifically relevant to the job. Anything in your application that doesn’t respond to requirements listed in the ad should either be left out of the application or only be mentioned briefly towards the end
  • Check the length: recruiters read a lot of applications, so it’s important to be ruthless with text length. If you’re unsure how to cut down your application, ask someone you trust for help
  • Include a cover letter: A cover letter is a document that you submit alongside your CV that introduces you to the employer and gives you a chance to talk directly to them, emphasising your enthusiasm for the organisation and the role. If there is an opportunity to submit one, you should (even if it’s not mandatory), as it will increase your chances of standing out. 

How can I get some practise identifying job advert skills?

It’s a good idea to get some practice identifying job advert skills. Try the activities on this worksheet where you can work through some job adverts to start identifying the important skills employers are looking for. Many adverts could also focus on transferable skills such as communication, aiming high, adaptability, problem solving, staying positive, and creativity.  It’s worth checking where you are with your transferable skills and how you can develop them to demonstrate examples to prospective employers. 

Your application is the perfect opportunity to sell yourself, so take it. The CV builder is a great place to kick off if you haven’t started a CV yet.