Tailoring Your CV to Fit the Role

Written by: RICS Recruit
Published on: 1 Jan 2017

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Just as what you wear to an interview is important, the same is true for how you dress your CV. Whenever you send out an application, think about how you’ll be perceived by the recruiter, and what you want to change or highlight to make yourself into a more desirable candidate.

This means you may send out a different CV for every role you apply to. By making your CV specific to the role, you’ll increase your chances of getting noticed.

Personal summary

Since this is always the first section of your CV, it’s the one recruiters are most likely to read. Make sure your stated career aims include the specific industry you’re applying within, or even mention something specific to the company itself.

Highlight pertinent skills

Everyone has lots of skills they like to include in their CV, but they won’t all be relevant to every role. It’s best to only list the skills that are in the person specification or that you can clearly see you would use from the job advert. It’s great that you’re certified to use a bulldozer, but there’s no need to mention it for an office-based role.

Don’t waste space on irrelevant roles

While you should always list the roles on your CV in chronological order, you don’t have to write the same amount about each position. For some jobs, a single line is enough. This way, you have more space to write about the roles and accomplishments you want to highlight. For instance, if you’re applying to be a manager at a restaurant, detailing your time as a waiter is great. But if you’re applying to be a Quantity Surveyor, one line about that experience will suffice.

Adjust job descriptions

Beyond making sure you’re highlighting the most relevant experience, the way you describe each role can have a big impact. Once more, there will be different responsibilities and accomplishments to play up on each application. Choose the aspects of your previous roles that best demonstrate why you’re a good fit for the one you’re applying to. This could mean focusing the description on one particular project where you demonstrated key traits, leaving off assignments that are irrelevant.

Use their wordings

Reusing specific words or phrases from the job advertisement ensures that the recruiter will find what they’re looking for in your CV. This makes things easy for them, and people like reading familiar phrases. Just make sure you’re not regurgitating the job description verbatim – you don’t want to make it obvious. For instance, if the person specification says they’re looking for someone who can “identify commercial risks”, pick out a time you’ve done that in a past role and start your description of it with “Identified commercial risks”.

Non-work experiences

Finally, consider the kind of company you’re applying to. Do some research and see what kinds of charities they support, or if they have a company football team. Mention any of your non-work activities that you think might be relevant or that shows you share their values.