Why should you tailor your CV?

How much time have you spent putting your CV together? And once you’ve done that, how much time do you spend considering your reader – the recruiter or hiring manager – and tailoring your CV to them? 

I recall a client saying “Isn’t it just the same information on my CV? Why do I need to waste time tailoring it when I can just send the same thing? I can apply for more jobs that way.”    

Yes, they did say that and fortunately, I persuaded them to change their approach.  

Recruiters read thousands of CVs and it only makes their lives harder if they come across one that includes unnecessary information. For example, how important is it to include information on an admin temp job you had in a lawyer’s office 17 years ago? Maybe if you’re applying for a legal admin role, but even then, it was a very long time ago. 

Your CV is written for the benefit of the recruiter. Not you. You need to find a balance between what they need to read and what you need to say. It is a sales tool and like it or not, you are the product.  

So when you talk about your achievements, be sure to keep them relevant to the role that you are applying for. 

Put yourself in the position of the recruiter. 

What would they like to see? 

What could you include in your CV that signals you are a great match for a role? 

What can you offer that will help you to stand out from other applicants? 

It may take some time, but editing your CV for each application will already set you apart as many people send a generic CV to a number of roles and are then disappointed when they don’t get an interview or even a response. 

Like many things in life and work, you get out what you put in, so create a focused job search plan and invest time in tailoring for roles for which you are a good match.

One valuable way to do this is to use language from the job ad to add keywords to your CV. This is also vital for ATS (online application filtering software).

Another way to make your CV more relevant is to keep it concise. 

Acronyms and jargon may be standard in your company and industry, but don’t expect everybody to be familiar with the terminology. Use simple, accessible language that engages the recruiter. Keep sentences to the point. 

What you have done in the past may be interesting and at the time, it was undoubtedly important, but the key thing in your CV today is to demonstrate what you can offer now and in the future.  

Being concise and relevant will also help with keeping the CV down to the standard two-page maximum. There are some industry exceptions, but generally, a two-page CV is the right length to showcase your career story, skills and experience. 

One thing I hear from many clients is ‘I’d like to include something about XYZ because that was a big project for me’.  That may be true, but is that achievement of use to the recruiter? How does that help them?

If it’s relevant to the targeted role, then that’s good, but if it isn’t, then edit or if needed, be brutal and bin it. You only have two pages of valuable CV ‘real-estate’. Use it wisely. 

Get in touch if you’d like help tailoring your CV or with making it as concise and relevant as possible for the role that you want. We can also help with job search and maximising your time.

Email jason@careertherapy.co.uk
LinkedIn Jason Newton
Photo Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s