Targeting your CV

The CV is the make or break of your job application. Everything in it tells a potential new employer something about you. The only information available to the employer is in your application. We regularly advise people to target every job application with a tailor made CV, and that's why.

The fundamental principles of targeting your CV are pretty simple:

  • Make sure every part of your CV directly relates to the current job application.
  • Use exactly the same descriptions for skills, experience, and qualifications as on the job ad or application guidelines.
  • Always cover the essential job skills, qualifications, and experience in your CV.
  • Ensure that everything in your work history is clearly relevant to the job application.

This is a lot easier to do than it might look from that description. You have the raw material available from your basic CV, and it's quite easy to adapt that material to any job.

Let's go through the basic CV outline:

Objectives

The objectives part of your CV defines your motivations. You're telling the employer why you want the job. Write the objectives section showing a clear reason based on a career track motive like, 'I want to gain direct experience as part of my management studies.' This will explain why you want a supervisor's job.

Skills

Skills are often keywords in job applications, like essential criteria. Any job for which you can apply will include a range of skills you can use. You may not have all of them, but you must include all the required skills as much as possible. Use exactly the same description of these skills as used in the job ad.

Work History

Your work history needs particular care and good use of terminology. Explain briefly, but as clearly as possible, your job role and tasks. Again, use the same terminology as in the job requirements, particularly the essential skills, as the framework for your description. Spell it out in those terms.

Use multiple examples, and if possible show how your skills developed through your work history, making clear your level of experience.

Achievements

Achievements added on to the work history as part of each job description are a real positive, particularly when you show obvious relevance and value to the employer. Use examples that are clearly related to the new job application.

Qualifications

Many applications contain a set of required qualifications. You must provide a list of qualifications that meets those requirements. Difficulties sometimes arise when you have similar qualifications, but aren't sure if they match the requirements. Don't guess. Make sure they do, preferably by email, and get a definite yes or no.

Your qualifications also need to be spelled out in detail. Broad descriptions of qualifications aren't good enough, particularly when all the other applicants will have similar qualifications. Again, spell it out, so you're obviously qualified for the job.

As you can see, targeting a CV isn't difficult. Get the content right, and you get the job.