A Simple Method for Tailoring Your CV to Any Job Application

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Written by Seun Oyediran

A Simple Method for Tailoring Your CV to Any Particular Job Application

Have you ever missed the dress code for a momentous occasion? How did you feel when you noticed that you were wrongly dressed? I bet it was one of the most embarrassing days of your entire life. If you’ve never dressed incorrectly to an occasion, imagine wearing a shiny black tuxedo to an all-white wedding. First, you draw the attention of people, and then they give you looks full of disdain. 

People always take great pain to care about the peculiarity of an occasion before choosing what to wear. And when it comes to CVs, one CV does not fit all job applications. But sadly, people hardly take the pain to tailor their CVs to the peculiarity of a job when applying for that job.

The best way to treat your CV is to tailor it to fit a particular job application. It is quite embarrassing when your CV doesn’t get past the ATS software to the recruiters’ table. And it’s more embarrassing if it somehow appears on the recruiter’s table but ends up almost immediately in the trash because it does not fit the requirements.

The bane of innocent ignorance has made many qualified job seekers miss out on life-changing opportunities. There are limited jobs for everyone with thousands of applicants for just a few slots. Therefore, it goes without saying that making your CV stand out among thousands of others is quite important.  

The difference between someone who hurriedly submits a generic CV to ten companies and receives no call for an interview and another who gets five job interviews for each tailored CV he submits is quite apparent! One gets nothing from little to no effort, and the other gets something for his effort. You’ve got to be one of these two. So, make your choice WISELY!

Does Writing Tailored CVs Take Too Long? 

While many believe that writing tailored CVs takes a long time to complete, I will need you to change your mindset about that. Tailoring your CV to fit a particular job description doesn’t necessarily have to take as much time as people think. All you need to help you quickly spin a high-quality CV is the ability to quickly understand the job description and other relevant aspects of a particular job application.

Sounds simple enough, right? Yes, it’s that simple and many times better than having recurring disappointments. It doesn’t matter who you are or how much you know; mindlessly using the same CV to apply for different jobs may be suicidal to your career. Even if you’re the best graduating student, your qualifications might impress the hiring manager. But it would stop at mere impression because nobody wants to hire someone, they are not sure has the necessary SKILLS for the job. IF YOU DON’T TAILOR YOUR CV, IT IS IN THE DANGER OF DISAPPEARING OUT OF SIGHT!

Why is it Important to Tailor your CV?

So, why is it essential to tailor your CV? Well, let me let you in on a few reasons very quickly. 

  • It brings about a good first impression
  • It helps you to stand out
  • It shows you have the right skill set for the job
  • It shows you are passionate and serious-minded.

Now that we have considered a few reasons why it is essential to tailor your CV; let me show you a simple method for tailoring your CV to any particular job application. 

How to Tailor Your CV to Any Job Application

  1. Read The Job Description Carefully

Do you need an added advantage over other applicants vying for the same job? Then read the job description carefully before submitting your CV! Don’t be in too much of a hurry to submit a CV without reading and understand the job description. Understanding the job description helps you to know how you should structure your CV. Not reading the job description carefully is one of the mistakes most job seekers are guilty of making. 

You should read the job description carefully because it is the information you get from there to control your ship’s rudder. What you write in your CV should be related to what the recruiter needs. Remember that your CV is the first impression your recruiter has about you – it speaks volumes! So, you should never expect your recruiters to assume things you didn’t write. If you need an edge over other applicants, first things first: Start with understanding the job description and its requirement.

  1. Review Important Keywords

When people come across the term “keywords”, you can almost guess what they are thinking – that it’s going to be difficult! This is not necessarily true because there are quite a number of tools to the rescue nowadays. For example, rewordify.com is a beneficial tool for breaking down job descriptions into parts of speech. When you see a job description, you should be able to identify and review the crucial keywords.

Why is this even necessary? Breaking down job descriptions and reviewing the relevant keywords helps you know what to include in your CV. With the right resume keywords, the chances are that your CV will rank high and most likely find its way to the recruiter’s table. Recruiters generally use two methods to review resumes – quick scans and the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). And both of these methods require a keyword scan.  

So, it’s essential to include the right keywords and phrases in the right places. Because that’s how recruiters search for and get their candidates on their HR systems and through LinkedIn. A candidate’s CV will not show up in the search tool if such a CV fails to include keywords that are of exact-match. Here’s how to find the best keywords to use:

  • Look for a couple of similar job descriptions
  • Highlight the skills stated
  • List the overlapping skills
  • Check for professionals with that job title on LinkedIn (your search will find those with optimized profiles)
  • Use their profile as a useful keyword guide. 

Optimize your CV by listing the most relevant and reoccurring keywords and phrases from the job description. By doing this, you’re tailoring your CV to fit the job. So, before you submit your CV to any job application, review the essential keywords in the job description and use them in your resume! There’s one little caveat though; ensure that whatever keyword (skills, education, certifications etc.) that is listed on your CV, you can surely back up. Telling lies would surely do you more harm than good.

  1. Focus Only on Some Parts of Speech

It would help if you only focused on powerful words useful in conveying your skill and proficiency. Your point of focus should be on the noun, verb, adjective, and preposition – all in that order. Focus primarily on the listed parts of speech stated under the responsibilities and requirement section.

For resumes/CVs that recruiters will scan, more premium value is placed on the nouns than verbs. If you want to get the most important nouns, you should check different job descriptions similar to the job you want to apply for. Then look for patterns of the most common nouns used. If you need more insight into the kind of power words to use, you can read more on it here

  1. Check if You Meet The Necessary Requirements

When you go through a job application, check if you possess the technical skills, requested certifications, and years of experience. Also, check if you have these necessary experiences and knowledge in the required industry or domain. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t have all the recruiters need. The truth is that most people would most likely not have all of the requirements, so focus on what you possess.

  1. Create Your Key Achievement Statements

Create your crucial work achievement statements based on the information you get from analyzing the job description keywords. If you want to make your CV better than that of others, you have to DEMONSTRATE in the best way possible how you have used your skill to achieve measurable results. With numbers or percentages, you can quantify your achievement and therefore make them more powerful. 

Let’s take this for an example.

You want to take a job as a Public Relations Officer. The job description is as follows:

Excellent people skills required.

If you write something like “have excellent people skills” as a bullet point, you have not communicated your skills enough – what a waste of keywords.

But if you write something like: “increased membership by 20% in 6 months through excellent people skills, you have nailed your achievement statement. Why? 

  • First, the percentage you stated and the keyword will catch the hiring manager’s eye (with this, you have passed the scan test).
  • Second, you clearly state how your excellent people skills brought about tangible, quantifiable results. Hiring managers love this! (So, you have probably just secured an interview)!
  1. Avoid Exaggeration and Lies

I know I stated this earlier, but you do not want to exaggerate or tell lies if you don’t possess any of these skills. You might have useful transferable skills. Besides, many hiring managers stuff keywords when creating a job position knowing that the odds of getting that perfect candidate is slim. And even if the person does exist, that person would be expensive. If you exaggerate your qualifications, you may be in for some real trouble during the interview or when the cat finally gets out of the bag. 

Final Thoughts

Most recruiters can spot a generic CV from a mile away! So, when it comes to CVs, remember that one size doesn’t fit all. Tailor the most important sections of your CV, and stand out from the crowd! I leave you with this gem, do take advantage of it. Peace out!

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