When shortlisting CVs for interview, nothing stands out more to a recruiter than application from someone very clearly applying for their job. It’s like a breath of fresh air – you tick every box, it’s a no brainer, you’ve made their job much easier and are already in their good books. Straight to the top of the pile you go.
And nothing will get you faster into the ‘no’ pile than a generic CV - which only demonstrates your lack of interest in most minds.
As brutal as it sounds, when faced with a busy day ahead and a pile of CVs to trawl though, recruiters can be ruthless.
This doesn’t mean that you have to create a new CV for every job you apply for. But a clever bit of tailoring is absolutely vital if you want to get to interview stage.
Let’s assume you are applying for a specific type of job or sector – Logistics positions or jobs in Aerospace and Defence only. You can adapt your CV quite easily. However, you may need a number of versions of your CV if you’re applying for roles in various sectors.
The bulk of your CV can remain as is. You should focus your attention on personalising your personal statement, your responsibilities within your work history, skills and qualifications and training.
How to tailor your CV in 4 steps:
1. Get a feel for the organisation by spending some time on their website, social media, blogs and employer review sites. What you’re trying to do is understand their brand, culture and values. Then tweak your CV to show that you’re a great fit and aligned with what they stand for.
2. Use the job description as a checklist. Highlight the criteria they’re asking for and ensure these desirables are mentioned within your skills and experience. And most importantly show examples. Remember STAR – Situation, Task, Activity and Result, eg I was Team Leader for a manufacturing firm and was asked to create a presentation for a potential client. I used my in-depth knowledge to create an attractive sales demo which resulted in a sale of £X.
3. If they want management experience but you’ve never held a management role, or they ask for creative thinkers and you can’t come up with a work-based example, don’t be afraid to rely on your transferable, or soft, skills. Use examples in your every day home life, with a sports team or as a volunteer.
4. Utilise the skills section of your CV and list the qualities the employer is looking for, so at a glance, they can see you match their requirements perfectly. Five to seven skills is a good number if you’re using bullet points. But always avoid being generic. Really hone in on what they’re asking for and be specific.
One last thing to remember, it can be tempting to create space by cutting out essential skills – assuming the reader will realise those skills are implied by the job title. Be careful not to remove too much.
If you’re looking for a new role and would like some help, call Omega on 01453 827 333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org