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The importance of tailoring your CV

Doing your research is the key to creating a CV that shows employers you really want to work for them.

With the increased competition in the jobs market, it is more important than ever to tailor your CV to each role you apply for. In our experience, any other serious applicant will have do this, so if you don’t put in the effort you might not make it past the first hurdle.

Here are some tips to make it clear to employers that you have really done your homework:

  • Don’t just scan the job description; really think about what the words mean in terms of day-to-day activity and how you can make your CV show that you can handle these tasks and responsibilities.
  • Search online for profiles or adverts of jobs similar to the one for which you are applying to help add to your understand of what's required in the position. Then demonstrate this where you can in your CV.
  • When writing your skills section, use adjectives similar to those used in the job advertisement. If they require someone with ‘effective leadership and administrative abilities that possesses excellent interpersonal skills’, you should state that you have these in roughly the same order – although not verbatim as this is too obvious.
  • If the opportunity easily presents itself, it may help to pepper your CV with some technical terminology – but not too much – so that the employer knows that you understand the industry. However don't compromise the overall need for plain language in your CV. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  • Make sure to research the organisation itself to find out about its reputation and how it presents its culture. Are they a 'work hard and play hard' company? Include any information about yourself that shows you will fit in with them. This may fit within your ‘Interests’ section if you choose to include one: charity work or sports, for instance.
  • If you aren’t applying for a specific job but you know what type of roles you are interested in, read through job adverts and make the most of online resources that are specifically designed to help you understand different jobs, such as Prospects. This will help you to understand what skills and responsibilities are typical for these jobs. You can then tailor your CV to include these if you have them, or try to gain the skills that you don’t have so you can include them in future applications.

Remember that the goal of the CV isn’t to get you a job; it’s to get you an interview. Make it concise, interesting and enticing. Read our tips on making your CV stand out to employers.