Tailor your CV to get more interviews.
If you were going for an interview at one of the big four accountancy firms, it is unlikely you would turn up wearing sandals, a Hawaiian tee shirt and beach shorts. Likewise, if you were going for an interview as a lifeguard it might look odd if you turned up in a pin striped suit. Just like it is important to tailor your approach for interviews, the same is true for your CV.
The generic CV and scatter gun approach
Some job seekers use the same CV for every application. However, even jobs with the same title can have very different responsibilities. The more closely aligned to a specific role you are applying for, the better the CV will perform. In most cases this may need a small amount of re-writing, perhaps 5 to 10%. If you are applying for a very different type of role this could clearly mean a more substantial adaptation.
How many versions of a CV will I need?
A meticulous job seeker will have as many versions of their CV as they do the number of applications they make. Think of your first CV as a tree trunk. It then sprouts as many branches as are needed to in applying for different jobs. Each branch can develop further branches as you adapt the CV from one application to another with similar requirements.
Read the person specification
The secret to knowing how to tailor your CV is to read the person specification of the job you are applying for. This tells you the criteria your CV will be assessed against. By making sure you demonstrate – with specific examples – how, where and when you have demonstrated the skills you are going a long way to securing an interview. Support your achievements with facts and figures.
Professional profile and key skills
A short professional profile of 4 or 5 lines at the beginning of your CV is important. It should clearly position you inline with the job you are applying for in the first sentence. Whether this is as a financial analyst, financial controller or chief financial officer, be specific as this will help engage the reader in understanding the relevance of your CV. Then give some insight into the personal qualities that make you good at your job.
If you have a key skills section then this should be adapted for each application. Look at the key terms and phrases within the job description and mirror these. This will help to reaffirm your expertise to the human reader. It will also help your CV to pass through applicant tracking system (ATS) filters which look for concentrations of key words as they prioritise or reject CVs that have been sent in reply to job advertisements.
This article is written by Neville Rose, Director of CV Writers.
CV Writers are the official CV partner to ACCA Careers.