How To Tailor Your CV For Different Roles

As a recent graduate just starting out on your career, the choice of roles to apply for can be quite overwhelming. Faced with the daunting task of sending out multiple copies of your CV and cover letter to many different potential employers, you may be thinking of taking a few short-cuts to speed up the whole process. It can be tempting to send out the exact same generic CV copy to every single employer on your list…

Stop right there. Unless you want to get precisely nowhere, every different job application requires a different approach. Here’s how to tailor your CV effectively.


Extract key requirements from each job advert

Each role that you apply for will require a different set of skills and experience. What one employer sees as a valuable skill may not be quite so highly valued by another. This is why it’s important to thoroughly read through every inch of the job description and pick out those relevant skills needed, as well as any other information that could be useful for your CV.

You may notice, for example, that each employer uses a different style of language or a turn of phrase to describe the role on offer. It can be a very positive move to adopt their language and communication style and adapt your CV to reflect their language. Pick out all the relevant keywords used and the skills they are prioritising over others. These are the key points that the employer will be looking for when they look over your CV.

Make sure to repeat, highlight and emphasise these key skills throughout your text so that they jump off the page and get you noticed.


Adapt your personal statement

Change up and adapt your personal statement to suit the company language of each different employer you approach. You have to make yourself look and sound like someone who will integrate easily and smoothly into their existing team and be able to work side-by-side with their current staff with little disruption or need for extra training.


Highlight relevant skills and knowledge

If you already happened to have some relevant training or experience for a particular role, then there’s no point hiding this away somewhere at the end of your CV where it may never be read. If you already have relevant skills that could prove valuable, your potential employer will want to know about them.

It’s your job to make sure they get this information early on in their reading, especially during their first skim of your CV. Make sure you mention these skills in your cover letter too. This will help to boost your chances of being noticed and invited in for an interview.


Cut out less important info

What you’re trying to create here is a core CV that highlights your relevant skills, training and experience for a specific role. Your experience doesn’t need to have come from a previous job. As a new graduate you may have some work experience to fall back on in the form of skills learnt from a weekend job, temporary holiday work or from volunteering.

It’s best to keep your CV short and to the point, as many employers don’t have a lot of time to sit and read every CV that comes across their desk. Remove any experiences that are not directly related or important to the role you are applying for. Too much waffle and padding can be a real turn-off for an employer to wade through, no matter how interesting you find your own sports and hobbies.

Good luck!


Stacey Wood is a professional CV writer for StandOut CV and a former recruiter. Stacey specialises in creating winning CVs for graduates and junior level professionals. 

Inspiring Interns is an internship and graduate jobs agency.