How to tailor your CV to the job description

Each CV and cover letter that you send off for each job application should be bespoke to match that job description.

No two jobs are exactly the same, so make sure that your CV accurately reflects what the recruiters are after to prove you’re a great fit for the role.

Tailoring your CV will add time to the job hunting process and yes, it can be a little tedious. But if you want to be taken seriously by employers, then you should approach job hunting seriously – it will pay off in the long run.

Recruiters will know when you’ve sent in a generic CV because it won’t reflect the skills and experience that they are looking for in candidates.

Remember that tailoring your CV doesn’t mean that you have to rewrite it each time. What it means is that you are answering the questions that the recruiters are asking by making small tweaks here and there.

If you’re sending a one size fits all CV you can’t accurately do this.

Even if you don’t have the exact experience to effectively demonstrate a skill that the recruiter is are after, you will more than likely have something in your work history that you can draw upon. And by tailoring your CV to each job application, you can best demonstrate why you’re the perfect candidate for the role.

Adopting the scattergun approach will certainly get numerous copies of your CV ‘out there’, however be aware that it’s quality that counts in this job hunting game, not quantity.

With that in mind, here’s how to tailor your CV to the job description.

1. Read the job advert thoroughly

Don’t get excited by a job title that sounds like it could work for you and send off a blanket CV. Pull out the skills and experience that the advert calls for and make sure your CV reflects them.

Before you send the CV off, ensure your examples of the key requirements are prominently displayed at the top as they’re the most important and the first thing the recruiter will read.

2. Tailor your personal profile section for each job application

The personal profile section on your CV will be the first thing the recruiter reads, so don’t just copy and paste from one CV to the next. Make sure this section is tailored to the job advert too.

Ensure that you use this section to demonstrate how you match the recruiter’s key requirements. If you aren’t sure what to include, have a look at their priority list on the job advert. The higher up the list, the more the recruiter values that skill or experience.

3. Cut out the noise

Just because you have a lot of skills and experience that you want to share with recruiters, doesn’t mean they are all required.

If your CV is filled out with lists and examples of the many skills that you have acquired over your working life, but there aren’t referenced in the job advert, cut them out.

You have limited space on your CV to best demonstrate how you meet their requirements. Don’t waste that space with unnecessary details.

If you want to include extra information that is pertinent to the job, highlight it in the cover letter. That way you can explain why you feel it is relevant, without having to include it in the body of your CV.

4. Don’t cut too much

We know we’ve just said cut out the noise, but don’t go overboard. You still want to let recruiters know that you have the necessary, key industry skills that the job you’re applying for would value, but you don’t have to state each one in great detail.

And don’t cut out whole roles from your job history either. Simply trim the fat to enable you sing about the more relevant roles you have had. If you cut too much of your career history and start to miss out roles, you may lead the recruiter to think you’ve experienced a career break when you haven’t.

All of this tweaking and tailoring takes time, but be assured, it’s time well spent. Quality, not quantity, is what is important here as it will show recruiters what they need to know immediately, increasing your chances of landing an interview.