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Recruiters are usually very busy people. If they work for large organisations they are likely to receive hundreds, if not, thousands of CVs. Of course, they probably have an applicant tracking systems to support the screening process. However, at some point, they are going to read the final batch that matches the essential criteria.  That’s why it’s essential to tailor every application.

As most of you will know I was an in-house recruiter for 12 years. I’ve been involved in recruitment for the last two decades. Despite the number of applicants received we never had a fancy tracking system. We had to screen every single CV received…yep tens of thousands of CVs! We had to get really good at scanning information and looking out for the keywords.

Even if your career history and experience matches all of the criteria it’s still important to highlight or change the order of key information. If you are changing direction then it’s absolutely essential you clearly explain how your transferable skills relate to their job.

Why should you tailor your Cover Letter, CV and application?
  1. Proves you’ve taken time to read the Job Advert (and any supporting documents)
  2. Highlights relevant experience which shows you understand the requirements
  3. Demonstrates you are genuinely interested in the role and company
  4. Explains the reasons why you are interested in the role and company
  5. Makes it’s easier for recruiters to identify relevant experience, skills and knowledge etc.
  6. To stand out from the crowd!

Job Advert

Good recruiters will spot in seconds whether you have taken the time to read the advert. They can immediately tell if you’ve sent a generic CV. If it’s clear you’ve not taken the time to tailor, why should anyone else put in the effort?  It’s so important to make the recruiter’s job really easy.

After all, you want to be invited to interview. You will stand out from the crowd if you make this additional effort.

Print off the job advert and any other supporting documents. If you have a job description, print this off too. Go through each line. Some job descriptions are very lengthy and will be pages of information.

In this case, use in combination with the job advert to highlight the essentials. Aim to think of achievements that cover a broad range of the requirements. Rather than trying to think of one achievement for each competency.

Highlight relevant experience

It’s strongly suggested that you also include a tailored cover letter. Even if a cover letter isn’t requested. A cover letter gives you another opportunity to tailor your application. A well-written cover letter can get you into the “yes” pile before a recruiter even reads your CV. Cover letters can include information about your motivation to join the company and why you are interested.

Genuinely interested

When you take the time to tailor your application and CV it shows you are motivated from the outset. When you take the time to craft a cover letter it demonstrates to the reader you are genuinely interested. It shows that you have put in some effort and taken time to consider the requirements.

Reasons for applying

A cover letter also gives you an opportunity to explain your reasons for applying. It gives you an opportunity to explain your interest in the job and the company. In turn, this lets the recruiter know you’ve researched the company or not.

Stay away from the generic sentences that indicate to a recruiter you’ve sent the same cover letter to multiple vacancies.

“I’m looking for a new challenge” – isn’t everyone?

“I want to work for a Global organisation” – why?

“I would like to progress my career to the next step? – what is it about this role and what will you bring to us?

Helps to get you screened in

Love or hate recruiters, you’ll be missing a great opportunity if you don’t work with them. Your job is to make it really easy for the reader to quickly understand your fit to the requirements.

Therefore, as above you need to highlight the relevant experience, knowledge and skills.

We know it can be frustrating and tailoring is the most time-consuming part of applying for a new job. However, it will be worth the time and effort. Treat each application with quality time and dedication. If your career is important it is time well spent.

Stand out from the competition

Again taking the time to re-word your CV and highlight your relevant experience, knowledge and skills will stand out. It’s a highly competitive jobs market. If you’ve taken some time and made the effort this shows motivation. Generally, people that are motivated will be highly productive as well. Employers want highly productive employees. So, demonstrating this from the outset is critical to your application.

Always read the “How to Apply” instructions or the guidance notes. You’d be mad not to! Some organisations have a competency framework in place. They are very comprehensive documents. You may feel a little overwhelmed at first. However, it’s well worth taking the time to read and understand.

These documents have all the answers! They are telling you how you are going to be assessed throughout the application process and beyond. There will be all sorts of requirements, write in black pen, write in capital letters, include a cover letter, write a personal statement, word counts etc.

We understand that tailoring every single application, cover letter and CV is time-consuming and frustrating. Hope this helps you understand the reasons why it’s so important to tailor.

About Dawn Moss

Dawn has worked in a corporate environment for over ten years providing Recruitment & Selection Services, and has been involved in Coaching & Educating Business Leaders, Managers and Employees in all aspects of the recruitment process.

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