How to tailor your CV in 5 steps

Sending a generic CV with every job application can seriously harm your chances of interview success. This is why you should always tailor your CV 

After all, while it may provide a summary of your core skills and experience, a generic CV won’t immediately show the recruiter why you’re an ideal person for the vacancy. 

Before you offer us your best eye roll, tailoring your CV is easier than you might think. It doesn’t have to involve a complete rewrite. In fact, it may only need a few tweaks.  

The best part is, you can do it in just five quick steps. If you’re wondering how, then you better read on for our advice on how to tailor your CV! 

  1. Read every part of the job advert

Before you go straight in and butcher your old CV, you must first read the entire job advert to make sure you’re a match for the role. Too often job hunters get excited by a job title without reading the requirements properly; and then send a CV that doesn’t highlight relevant experience. 

Speed isn’t your best friend when applying for a job — it’s quality. 

When you find a job you like, take a moment or two to really understand what the job requirements are and decide whether they match your skill set.  

You should also consider whether it’s a job that you want in its entirety, rather than wanting it because it’s got an impressive title. If this all fits the bill, you’re ready to move onto the next step; but you shouldn’t tailor your CV just yet. 

  1. Pinpoint your matching skills

Once you’ve decided on a job to apply for, go through the requirements in the job advert and highlight how you match up to the description. Pinpointing your matching skills in this way will help you tailor your application more accurately and efficiently. 

Don’t feel disheartened if you don’t tick every box in the requirements list; everyone’s skill set is different. Instead, it’s important to recognise and understand your shortfalls so you can address them when you tailor your document 

This way, if you’re missing certain qualifications or knowledge from the requirements list you can start thinking about similar experiences or transferable skills to show why you’re still a good fit. 

  1. Tweak the keywords in your CV

Once you’ve identified the requirements you tick off, you need to tailor your CV to show the recruiter you’re a match. You can do this in a number of ways. 

Firstly, consider tweaking the personal profile section of your CV. This sits at the top of your CV and offers the recruiter a snapshot of your abilities; specifically, who you are, what you can offer the company and your career goals.  

Instead of providing a generic profile, ensure you insert keywords from the job description and reference essential skills. For example, if the job description states that you’ll need a 2:1 degree or higher and you have this qualification, say so! 

Secondly, tweak the rest of your CV so it includes some of the phrasing of keywords and skills listed in the advert. When you tailor your CV like this, you not only show the recruiter you’re an ideal fit for the role, but your application is more likely to pass through Application Tracking Systems (ATSs), too. 

  1. Cut irrelevant information

The next step when you is cutting down on irrelevant information. This is particularly beneficial if you’re tight on space; remember a CV should never be over two pages. 

Recruiters only want to read what’s relevant to their vacancy. Therefore, if your CV is full of knowledge and skills that aren’t mentioned in the advert, we recommend cutting them from your CV or at least reducing the level of detail.  

Watch you don’t cut entire roles or core industry skills though; this could do your application more harm than good when you tailor your CV. 

  1. Tweak the structure of your CV

If you really want to create a great first impression, you should consider tweaking the structure of your CV. Essential components of any CV include your name and contact details, personal profile, employment history and education. 

However, you can mix up the order of these sections to play to your strengths. Plus, you can include additional sections such as key skills and achievements, key qualifications and even hobbies and interests. 

For example, if you’re a recent graduate and your employment history isn’t so strong, place your education section above your employment history.  

If you’re a seasoned professional, you may include a key achievements section below your personal profile to show off your major selling points straight away. Just remember to keep each section relevant to the job you’re applying for and you’re onto a winner. 

Why you should tailor your CV for each job 

Tailoring your CV is a quick way to increase your chances of an interview. It not only shows the recruiter that you’re a perfect fit for the role in question, but that you’re serious about your application. Desire and passion are great traits to have when job hunting!  

Follow these five steps and recruiters will instantly see why you’re a great fit for their role. For more CV tips and tricks, see our guides.