How to tailor a CV to a job description

Tailoring a CV to a job description or company is absolutely essential to ensure your CV stands out from the crowd. It should be done every single time you send it out, whether it's changing a paragraph, reformatting or tweaking a sentence, it can make a big difference. With recruiters and employers skim reading CV's in under thirty seconds, your aim is to ensure that everything required in the job description is highlighted on your CV and easy to identify.

Start by printing off the job description. Take a highlighter and highlight all the essential requirements. Then go to the desirable or preferred requirements and highlight the ones that apply to you. Once you have done this go to the company's website and have a look at their mission statement. From this extract the key buzz words they use and add these to your highlighted list of job description requirements. Contact those in your network to find out who has worked for the company you are applying to before. From this ask them if they can recommend a CV format that the company might prefer or what sort of attributes they look for in an operator. Starting at the top of your highlighted list, take each requirement in turn and ensure it is clearly documented on your CV.

Use the experience section of your CV to really emphasise the requirements and provide evidence to show you have the knowledge and experience in the areas of what was required by the job description. If you already have a bullet point in your CV outlining what is required in the job description, ensure it is at the top of the list of bullet points, therefore it gets read first. The same goes for qualifications, ensure all qualifications required in the job description are highlighted at the top of your qualifications and professional training section of the CV. If the requirements are medicals like ENG1 or vaccinations such as yellow fever then it's worth creating a section on the CV called medical and vaccinations to add them too making it easy for the reader to identify.

Once you have done this then you can write your profile which is a high level summary of your CV so it should outline the key requirements from the job description that you meet, but not go into detail.

For an employer receiving your tailored CV shows you have had the respect to take the time and effort to ensure your CV meets their requirements. For a recruiter, they can't forward your CV on to the client if it is of a poor standard and the client would struggle to extract the required information from it, so equally it must be tailored. Less than 10% of operators tailor their CV before applying for a position, so if you really want to stand out from the crowd, take an hour to tailor your CV the next time you send it off.


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