In the current climate, you need to tailor your CV to fit the job you’re
applying for; a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach no longer works.
The key is to answer an employer’s needs. If you’re replying to a job ad, the
ad will tell you exactly what the company wants: make sure they know you can
give them it by including a section near the top of your CV that shows you have
the key skills and qualities required.
For example, the ad might state: ‘The successful candidate will have an
excellent practical knowledge of IT and systems management with a strong
administrative background, and be resourceful, ambitious, with good
interpersonal skills and a good communicator, committed to the highest standards
You let them know you have just the right background by tailoring your CV
specifically for this job and telling them exactly when, where and how you’ve
demonstrated the requirements with a key strengths section near the top of your
CV, right after your name, address and personal profile. The section should look
something like this:
‘Proven administrative skills and an excellent working knowledge of IT: six
years’ experience providing full IT support to the south-east division (six
offices, 200 staff) of a big insurance company, responsible for all
administration associated with that role.
‘Resourceful, ambitious and committed: improved the efficiency of the system
so that claims now take two days rather than two weeks to process. System
downtime has fallen from 24 days a year to three. Undertook HND in own time and
at own expense, and was promoted to current position as a result.
‘Good interpersonal skills/good communicator: liaise between IT staff and the
rest of the company at all levels; mentor and train new IT support staff. I use
a full range of interpersonal skills to achieve these tasks and also to evaluate
user needs and assess problems in non-technical, user-friendly terms.’
Then continue your CV with the usual career history, education and training,
and so on.
You’ve now told them exactly what they need to know without having to hunt
through your CV for clues, and painted a detailed, professional picture of
yourself. Drive the key points home in your covering letter and they’ll need a
very good excuse not to interview you.
Lynn Williams is a career coach and bestselling career
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