Keeping your target employer in mind
An employer can spot a generic CV a mile away. Sending the same CV to every employer is a lot like sending emails not addressed to anyone in particular – you’re unlikely to get a good response because you’re not being specific enough.
Writing a customised, relevant, and highly specific CV gives you the edge as a candidate. It tells the employer you’re serious and makes it easier for them to see how and why you’d be a great fit for the role. This is how to keep your target employer in mind while you’re writing the perfect CV.
Create a CV that’s easily edited
Every role you apply for will demand something a little bit different from you, so it’s important to customise your CV appropriately. Your CV should have a simple structure and provide the most important information in a clear way.
Start with your contact details and a short, results-focused summary of yourself as a candidate. This should summarise what you do and what makes you so good at it. Then, list your core skills and chronological job history, starting with the most recent. Education and other skills and experience come last.
With this simple structure, you’ll be able to update and finesse the details to match the job description for every job you apply for.
Know the specifics of the role
In its most basic sense, the perfect CV is designed to outline your skills and experience. When the employer is faced with a lot of different candidates, they’re looking for someone whose experience matches what they need. They’re not going to spot it in your CV if it isn’t clearly explained.
Reread the job description and make sure what the employer is looking for can be clearly seen in your previous experience. The short punchy candidate profile is a great place to put those essential details.
Top tip! Give examples of your successful work. Employers have seen plenty of candidates describe themselves as ‘innovative’ and ‘motivated’, but they want proof. Explain why you’d be a great fit with real-world examples, targets achieved, and awards received.
Get to know the employer’s goals
The job description explains what your role will be. Understanding the wider roles and aims of the employer is also vital.
An organisation or business is rarely just focused on making money, the company will also have commitments to its customers, plans to expand into a specific region, or create new services.
Highlight what experience you have that demonstrates you can understand and commit to company goals. This could be in your core skills section and your chronological job history. It’s likely to come up at interview too, so be prepared to chat about it!
Highlight the skills they want to see
Your most relevant skills should be listed on the top third of your CV. The reader will know at a glance exactly what you can do and how you’ll bring your skills to the role.
Even if there’s a lot of competition, listing these core skills in such a clear place can help to distinguish your CV from the pile. When they know you tick off the essentials, they’ll keep reading and – hopefully – pick up the phone to invite you to interview!
Recruiters and employers are skim-readers, and it can take them just seconds to make their mind up. The most experienced and attractive job candidates take a specific approach. If your CV is generic, it’s time to change it. When you apply for your next role, your CV will be at its strongest.
Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV .