Tailoring your CV or Resume in 4 Easy Steps

CV Resume
Written by Jonathan

What’s your approach to preparing your CV or Resume? Is it do it once and then just change it when you’re ready to move onto your next job?

Preparing your CV or Resume Once

That’s what most do. They prepare their CV or Resume once, send it around to recruitment agents and recruiters and wait for the calls to come to invite them to an interview. Yes the same CV or Resume gets sent time again for different roles in different organisations. What a great way to save time and effort!

But it’s the wrong approach!

No role is the same regardless of what the title is.

No company is the same either.

So why do it and expect to stand out and achieve success?

It’s just laziness

For many candidates it’s just laziness. Do it once and then hope for the best. The traditional belief that my CV or Resume lists everything about me and stacks up, so why shouldn’t they want to see me, doesn’t work anymore.

Tailor, tailor, tailor

It’s now important to tailor your CV or Resume to every role you apply for. If you really want a role you need to put the investment in upfront.

So what can you do to ensure that you tailor your CV or Resume appropriately?

4 Steps to CV Success

1. Read the Job Description

Spend time going through the job description and make a list of the key characterisics that the organisation is looking for in a person for that role. These could be amongst others, teamplayer, uses initiative, value driven, expertise. Find around 5 elements that you think are important.

2. Demonstrating your Ability

Now that you have your list of around 5 key characteristics, the next stage is to show how you match those characteristics.

On a piece of paper list the first key element and list your experience, skills, knowledge and achievements against it. Do this for each key characteristic of the role.

3. Building the Story

You should now have two columns with the organisation’s key characteristics on one side and your skills, expertise etc. on the other. This next stage is about adding ‘meat to the bones’ or substance to the list you’ve created above.

How can you demonstrate in detail how you match their key elements. For example:

  • If they are looking for an achiever, have you over delivered in the roles you’ve had? If so what 3 can you list to demonstrate this?
  • If they need a teamplayer, list when you were part of a team and what you brought to the team.
  • If they are seeking initiative, what examples do you have of showing your initiative and what was the result?
  • If it’s experience they are looking for, what experience do you have and how can you make it relevant to the organization and the role?

4. Strong Upfront

Take the key elements of the role along with the supporting points that you have to demonstrate that they need to interview and put them on the first page of your CV or Resume. For example:

– Over achieved sales targets in each of the last 3 years by 130%. Targets ranged from 300k-750k
– Successfully delivered a project that delivered 1m in revenue to organization, against expectations of 600k

Tell them in a covering letter or email that you’ve read through the job description and identified key areas for the role and matched your experience and skills to each on the first page of your CV or Resume.

This will be the first page that an interviewer will see. It will create a good impression of you, that you’ve taken the time to do it, and help you stand out.

Tailor your CV or Resume to each and every role making sure you match the relevant key elements with your experience.

And Finally

If you’re looking for similar types of jobs, most organisations will be looking for similar types of qualities. That means that you can put the hard work in upfront and use the elements you’ve already created.

Just keep a list of all the elements somewhere so that you can refer to them and put them into your CV or Resume for a role if they are needed. Please make sure they are relevant to the organisation and the role you’re applying for and change if appropriate.

If there’s one change you make today, please never ever send out the same CV or Resume without tailoring it first. It’s your reputation on the line. It’s your chance to get an interview. Please put the effort in upfront.


YES! I want to stand out at interviews.

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