Insider advice

Tailoring your CV for every application

Director of CV Writers, Neville Rose, advises on the importance of adapting your applications to meet each role

Letter animation

If you were going for an interview as a senior optometrist it would be unwise to turn up in swimming shorts, sandals and a t-shirt. Likewise, if you were going for an interview as a beach lifesaver, you might feel a bit out of place in a pinstriped suit or high heels. Just as you tailor your approach for interviews, the same is also important for your CV.

An optometrist is an optometrist, right? Wrong

Some job seekers use one generic CV for every application. Yet even jobs with the same title can have quite different requirements. Every job description will have a person specification attached to it. This details the specific criteria that the employer will be assessing your CV against. Your CV needs to demonstrate how, where and when you meet these criteria. Using specific examples is the best way of demonstrating this.

Tailoring your CV to each job will help maximise your chances of getting an interview


How many CVs will I need?

Ideally, you should have the same number of CVs as you have made job applications.

Tailoring your CV to each job will help maximise your chances of getting an interview. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, it will help the CV to pass through applicant tracking system (ATS) systems that filter CVs against job description key words and phrases. Secondly, tailoring your CV will also help the human reader to understand your relevant experience and achievements.

Think of your CV as a tree

Re-working a CV sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it? Not necessarily. If you create one main CV, you can think of this as the tree trunk. From there, the other versions of your CV are like branches that sprout from the main trunk. You will have already done most of the work. Tailoring a CV may mean making changes to only 5% or 10% of it for other similar roles.

An employer doesn’t just want to know what job you do – they want to know how well you do it


Focus your professional profile

A great way to get immediate engagement with your CV is to have a tagline in large letters at the top stating your target job title. You should also position yourself in line with your target roles in the first line of your professional profile because this helps re-affirm to the reader the relevance of your CV and ensures they will give it due attention.

CV Writers offer a CV writing service as well as support with LinkedIn profiles, cover letters and more. It provides a free CV review service via its website