Must-Read Tips For Tailoring Your CV to The Job Description

Rebekah Valero-Lee Candidate Advice


Want to increase your chances of landing an interview in the new year? You need to tailor your CV to the job description.

Tailoring your CV doesn’t mean you have to rewrite it every single time. It’s simply a case of making a few tweaks here and there to show recruiters exactly why they should hire you. After all, no two jobs are exactly the same.

And, there’s no time like the present to get ready for the new year.

Utilise the following tips for tailoring your CV to ensure it appeals to every employer.

Understand the requirements of the role

It can be too easy to get excited about a job and submit your application without taking the time to make sure your CV highlights your relevant experience.

Once you’ve found a job that you really like the look of, take some time to go through the job description and identify the requirements you fulfil. These could be direct matches via hard skills, or loose matches via transferable skills.

Do you fulfil the criteria?

If you do, great news; it looks like this job is a great match for you! If you don’t, you might be better off searching for a role that does suit your experience and capabilities, rather than applying for this job and keeping your fingers crossed.

Inject keywords

Now that you’re armed with a job description identifying why you’re a fit for the position, you can begin to tailor your CV.

Take the keywords and phrases and pepper them naturally throughout your CV. By using the recruiters own language, you make your suitability for the role more obvious. Plus, you’re more likely to pass application tracking systems (ATSs) which scan CVs for relevant keywords and phrases to check appropriateness before they reach a recruiter.

Tweak your personal profile

Another way to make it clear to recruiters that you’re a match for the role is by tweaking your personal profile.

This section sits at the top of your CV and acts as a short, punchy introduction to you, your skills and your career aims.

Adjust this section so that it targets the job you’re applying for. For example, if the role requires at least two years of industry experience and you have this, say so in your profile, rather than burying this important info.

Cut down irrelevant information

Reducing the detail on irrelevant skills and abilities is just as important as including the relevant.

Recruiters are on the lookout for abilities that suggest you are suitable for their role. But if your CV is brimming with skills not mentioned in the advert, you may cloud the impressive achievements that show you are compatible.

Plus, if you are short on space, removing or reducing the detail of unrelated space will give you some wiggle room.

Just be careful not to cut too much. For example, if a past position is unrelated to the role you’re applying for, don’t remove it entirely from your CV as recruiters will assume you’ve experienced an employment gap. Instead, simplify the detail of the position to the job title, the company, the employment dates and a sentence or two outlining the role.

Keep the structure flexible

You should be familiar with the basic format of a CV: name and contact details, personal profile, experience in reverse chronological order, education in reverse chronological order and references available on request.

However, you can mix up this structure to highlight your best abilities for the role.

For example, if your education is stronger than your work experience, list this ahead of your employment history section. Alternatively, if you’ve experience a career change, you might like to break up your experience section into industry-related roles and other roles.

You might also like to introduce a “key skills” section underneath your personal profile to show off your most relevant industry experience immediately.

While these tweaks and adjustments take a little extra time and effort, they’re easy to make and will improve the quality of your CV for your applications.

Laura Slingo is Digital Copywriter for the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages.