Shine bright like a diamond

Adapt to win 

You might think that once you have your CV ready with all your relevant information, then that’s it. Well, that’s only the half of it. Employers look at everything on your CV as a sort of checklist to whittle down the long list of applicants to the short list of interviewees. So, you need to adapt your CV every time you apply for a job; this will give you the best chance to shine and be one of those short-listed for interview. Darwin said, “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” The same is true when it comes to your CV, the CVs that adapt to the role being advertised are generally the ones that get noticed and get to the shortlist for interview.

A custom CV stands out

Once you have a master CV that lists your skills and experience, (CareerBite has a number of examples) you can tailor your CV to match closely the job requirements advertised. Don’t underestimate just how quickly recruiters scan CVs; if they don’t see enough of what is being looked for in the first third of your CV, you won’t make the cut! Customising doesn’t mean wholesale change, after all, you don’t want to dilute the good stuff in your master CV. Customising means making small tweaks, often harder to do than making big changes. That said, it is worth doing if you are to have the very best chance of success.

Tweak your CV to match the job advert 

Your personal profile statement is what draws people to you as a person, so make sure it is engaging and interesting. If you have your profile statement from CareerBite, you can adjust the strengths in your profile into the order most suited to the particular role being applied for.

Check the job advertisement closely and make a list of what the employer is looking for so you can decide how closely you match the requirements. Usually, the employer give most value to what is at the top of the list and as it goes on, the value to the employer lessens. So, match the top two or three requirements closely to have the best chance of seeing the recruiting manager.

Use some of the keywords from the advertisement in your CV. If the company is looking for advanced knowledge of a particular IT application like Microsoft, it is better to list Word, Excel, and PowerPoint than to simply say good knowledge of Microsoft applications. Keep using as many keywords as you can, but make sure you are honest about it.

Highlight your fit for the role you want, by describing your experience in a way that makes it obvious that it will transfer to what the employer is looking for. If you have been in a team in education, you can use this to show teamwork and collaboration if that is something the advertised role has stated is important. So, if you have a bullet point list of skills and experience, make sure you put the ones the employer is looking for first on your CV.

Hobbies and interests, while at the bottom of your CV, are still important. If you have made the cut to interview, even your interests will be considered as part of the process. Decide which of your interests are the closest match to the job.

Your CV is the thing that gets you in the door so it is worth taking time and effort to make it work for you. Keeping your CV up to date and adapting it for each role will give you a better chance of getting the dream job you want.

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