If you were going for an interview at a big City law firm, it is unlikely you would turn up wearing sandals, swimming trunks and a tee shirt. Likewise, if you were going for an interview to be a Lifesaver for the RNLI, it may come across as slightly odd if you turned up for your interview in a pinstriped suit and bowler hat. If it’s important to tailor your approach to interviews, it is equally important when it comes to your CV.
It is a common mistake to rely on just one generic version of your CV for every application. How much the CV needs changing depends very much on your circumstances. A professional looking to further their career within a similar role and industry may need to tweak the CV for different applications. If you are a graduate or changing career, then you will need to refocus completely the information in your CV to demonstrate the right skills and qualities for different career paths.
Recruiters are often time strung and under pressure. It is therefore up to you the job seeker to make sure the information in your CV immediately connects. The first thing the recruiter wants to see is that your CV is relevant to the role applied for, this is where a Professional Profile comes into its own as this acts as your introduction and enables you to clearly position yourself in line with the job you are applying for.
How many CV adaptations will I need?
Think of your CV as growing like a tree. You start off writing the main trunk version. Depending on how many career avenues you are open to will then dictate the number of branch versions. For each branch, you should tailor the CV for every individual application. At the very least you should try to mirror the language a particular employer uses to show empathy with their culture and values. For roles that call upon just a specific part of your expertise, you will want to delete irrelevant points and detail further examples of good achievements.
You have just one opportunity to engage, enthuse and illicit a positive response. So, don’t leave it to chance. The scattergun approach using just one version of your CV for multiple applications is unlikely to hit the spot. By tailoring your CV for each application you are far more likely to be successful in getting interviews. So a little more work now means a lot less work in the future.