It’s absolutely essential you take the time to tailor your cover letter, CV, and application forms to every single vacancy.
Gone are the days you can write one CV and send it out to all vacancies. One size does not fit all. You are going to have to take time and make the effort to tailor your CV to every vacancy. But how and where do you start? There is a misconception that tailoring your CV is just adding a couple of keywords to get through the ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems). That’s really not the case. You will need to tailor your profile, key skills, and adjust the achievements to ensure they match all the criteria.
The profile needs to be like a movie trailer or synopsis. Giving the reader enough relevant information to get a good idea of what you have to offer. The key skills need to be highly relevant to the job and may need re-ordering. Your career history needs to shout out that you have the necessary experience and the depth of knowledge the company is looking to hire. You may even need to re-order again the tasks or achievements.
Review the Job Advert
This is why it’s so important to keep records during each job search. Sometimes the job advert will be the only information you get about the job. So, read carefully all the information available. Not all job adverts are equal, unfortunately. There are well written and comprehensive job advert to vague and poorly written ads and everything in-between.
Research the Company
It’s important you firstly, go and look on their website. However, what are you looking at? Again, not all websites are made equally! There are incredibly well laid out and easy to navigate websites. There are websites that are incredibly challenging to find any useful information.
Couple of things you need to know about a company:
Products and services: Review their main offerings. The core services they provide and make sure you understand what it is they do for their clients. Sounds obvious!
Mission and vision: Sometimes these are tricky to find on websites. These statements do give you a good overall understanding of what they are aiming to achieve.
Values or operating principles: This information is critical to your understanding and making the decision whether you fit the organisation’s values. It’s also highly relevant to add these characteristics to your profile when tailoring.
For example, if you are applying for a company like Google – they hire highly talented individuals that will be equally highly innovative.
Your profile needs to shout out the values of that organisation. And you shouldn’t be faking it. Otherwise, you’ll end up with people you don’t fit with. It’s so important to be yourself and carefully consider the right environment for you and your skills.
Relevant information on the first page
Think about recruiters. Despite thousands of CVs being screened by software, recruiters will still have a number of CVs to read in the final batch. So, the first page needs to tick all of the boxes. You need to make it really easy for recruiters to find the criteria for the job. Avoid long paragraphs and blocks of text. This really puts off a lot of recruiters and it’s time-consuming to read every single word.
Profile or Personal Summary
As well as including the obvious experience, knowledge, and qualifications you’ll need to include the characteristics that match the organisations. To be able to highlight the characteristics that match the values of the organisation, you’ll need to do some research. What are the values or operating principles of the company? What’s their culture?
Again, there is a misconception that once you’ve written up your achievements there’s no more work to do. Wrong! This is why it’s so important to write out your achievements in full first. Then you can pull out the elements that demonstrate the key criteria for the new job.
Consider the purpose of the interview
When you are preparing a workshop or speech or presentation, you would always have your audience in mind. It’s the same with an interview. Consider the purpose of the recruiters and hiring managers. Their purpose is to find the most suitable candidate for the vacancy. The most suitable fit for the job, the team and the company. The purpose of the interview is to select the most suitable person for the job.
A recruiter will be assessing the job fit, the team fit, and checking they match the wider company fit. Therefore, when you are tailoring your cover letter, CV, or application form you need to think of it from the recruiter’s point of view. You need to consider what information the hiring managers need to know. They need the information to be confident you can do the job and you want to do the job. And you fit in with the existing team and the wider company.
- Read the job advert
- Analysis the job description
- Match your experience, knowledge and skills to the requirements
- Tailor the profile and create a synopsis, tailor the key skills and achievements
- Make sure the first page ticks all of the job criteria
Wondering whether it’s all worth the time and effort? Read more here about the 6 reasons for tailoring your CV: 6 Reasons why you should tailor every single application.
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