Skills for London

The Event of the Year

Man and a woman in a job interview

Why you should tailor your CV to each job 

Custom writing your CV for a specific job advertisement will give you a far better chance of gaining an interview. There should be no corners cut when you also consider applying for more than one role – even if it has the same job title.

Each company is different and although the roles may look identical, you will usually find that the wording of the adverts and expectations can vary. We would always advise going to the effort of writing a CV that stands out for each role, especially if you are applying for different jobs.

Why you shouldn’t use a generic CV 

Even jobs with the same job title can be very different from each other. Anyone who has stayed within a similar type of role between organisations will tell you that the experience and responsibilities can be extremely varied. — The Guardian

Although you might feel that your CV looks and reads fantastic, it doesn’t mean to say that the way you have written the information will appeal to the employer. Once the reader looks further past the great presentation and layout they will also be looking for the relevant skills, experience and qualifications.

Tailoring your CV to the role will make the hiring manager’s job much easier as they will be able to instantly see that you are the right person for the job, rather than having to dig through the information to pick out the important parts.

An experienced hirer can always identify the custom written CV’s from the generic one’s, and with literally hundreds of applications to read through you can understand why they might be instantly put off with a generic CV.

How do I tailor my CV? 

There are lots of different approaches to tailoring a CV to a specific role, and there is a lot that depends on the role itself and the organisation. First of all you need to focus on the initial job advert and write down the important keywords and expectations. For example, if a specific qualification or area of qualification is important then make a note of this. Is prior experience required as well as certain skills and knowledge?

Not only can you get most of the information you need from the advert you can also use similar if not identical wording in parts of your CV. Remember that whoever wrote the job advert is most likely going to be the one who reads your CV and decides on the interview. Although this isn’t always the case, you would be best to assume so and consider the wording they’ve used to advertise what they are looking for.

Some examples of the keywords and phrases you might find are –

  • Great communication skills
  • Must have full UK driving licence
  • Works well as part of a team
  • Works well under pressure
  • Confident in giving presentations
  • Able to consistently hit deadlines
  • Has great customer communication skills

Do your research 

After you’ve extracted as much information as possible from the advert you can now look to research the role and the company. There are lots of ways you can do this –

Read the company’s website

  • Who are their customer’s?
  • What product or service do they provide?
  • What aspects of the company do you really like?
  • How has the company grown over the past few years?

After researching the company you can now move on to the role itself. You may be able to find out more information from the internet, but we find that the best way is to try and speak to an existing employer and even possibly the hiring manager themselves.

Don’t feel that you are being too bold by asking to speak to the hiring manager, because if done correctly you can hugely increase your chances of success. First of all inform them of why you are calling and that you want to gain some more knowledge of the role, and then introduce yourself. Be extremely polite and also respectful of their time, as it’s pretty much guaranteed that every manager in the world is extremely busy.

Ask them first of all if they have time to speak with you for a few minutes, or if it is possible to speak with them at a more convenient time. Once you are able to ask your questions make sure you keep them short and to the point, again making sure you don’t take up too much of their time.

Try to get a feel for how they sound on the phone. For example, do they sound busy and impatient or do they sound very happy and willing to talk to you? Most of the time you will find that the manager is very happy to talk more about the role and their organisation, and not only will you get some fantastic insider knowledge you will also make yourself memorable.

Our advice would be to ensure you give your full name clearly at the start of the conversation and also at the end. If you make a great impression you will already be one step ahead of the competition. Follow that up with a tailored CV and you’re already on your way to an interview.

Find out more about researching employers here.

You should also read:

  1. How to write a CV that makes a great first impression
  2. How to make your work history shine when writing a CV 
  3. The best way to explain a gap in your CV

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