Build your CV for the role you want

But also the role you have actually applied for…

I have been having conversations with a range of candidates recently around how they are choosing to present themselves on paper, and thought I might share some of these learnings. Being that it is the silly season and many of you will be thinking about greener work pastures come the new year, this could be a helpful little morsel of information to help you in the door for your next interview.

Now I may be wrong when I say this, but I don’t think many people put a whole lot of consideration into constructing their CV. And I understand this, believe me I remember the last time I had to put my resume together, it was painful, it was time consuming, it was literally the last thing I wanted to do and I became the procrastination queen doing anything and everything I possibly could to avoid having to write it. As such it can often become a ‘just chuck everything on the page quickly’ exercise so that you can go off and do other things. The problem with this, is #1 I bet you didn’t even do a spell check – making any claims you have made to being a detail oriented individual null and void, and #2 I doubt you have actually thought about how this document is going to be received by a potential line manager.

Now number 2 is particularly important especially considering the amount of CVs I have received recently where the applicant is stating that they are looking for a development role, and what they have applied for is a polar opposite position. Now you may not think there is anything wrong with this, but if you are up against pretty much anyone else who hasn’t stated this, your CV is going to the bottom of the pile. Why is any company going to want to hire you for a role you yourself have just said you aren’t interested in? And believe me they will be hyper conscious that should something more in line with your career goals come through likelihood is you will jump at the first opportunity – leaving said company in the lurch… Long story short, make sure your CV and your cover letter say you are actually interested in the position you are applying for – and don’t recycle the same cover letter you used 10 job applications back that mentions you are very interested in XYZ Finance position, when you just applied for an IT role with me.

Following on from this, and particularly important for those of you who have particularly wide skill sets but are applying for specialist roles, please tailor your CV to the position you are submitting your details for. And when I say this, I am not advocating that you start embellishing or outright lying on your CV to make your background appear stronger in a certain area. I am merely suggesting that you will get further by presenting your skills which most closely align with the role requirements first, and then talking about other transferrable skills and general abilities you hold after this. If you start with a major blurb on how you like to play video games and detail every grade you received at high school first and then only mention in passing your skill set which is directly relevant to the position, you aren’t likely to get very far.

When you think about it this is all just common sense stuff, but I get that job hunting can be a stressful time and sometimes we all just need little reminders and a helping hand. Best of luck if you are looking for greater things in 2017, and I hope you all have safe and happy holidays!

Happy Job Hunting!



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