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FOCUS on: Targeting Your CV

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FOCUS on: Targeting Your CV
Getting to interview stage with only 10 seconds to influence the decision!

In today’s competitive employment market, employers are receiving hundreds of CVs for just one job vacancy. CVs and application forms present a very short window of time for you to impress an employer, with most recruiting staff spending an average of about 10 seconds reading your CV before deciding whether it will be rejected or moved to the shortlisting pile. 

It is therefore essential that your CV makes it as easy as possible for the employer to see your suitability for the role as quickly as possible. So how can you make your CV stand out and increase the likelihood of your CV being moved to that shortlisting pile?

Remember: there is no such thing as one CV that fits all job applications. Targeting is essential!

Don’t just send out the same CV to every employer. You should have a good basic CV and a list of functional skills and experience, which you can then rearrange or rewrite to target the specification of each job.

What is a targeted CV?

A targeted CV is a skills-based CV; it focuses on your transferable skills and experience, in order to show the potential employer how you could fit into the role. The CV is ‘targeted’ because you only include details that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

How do I target a CV?

Matching Skills and Experience

Work through the job description, paying particular attention to the specification, identify the important knowledge, skills and abilities required. List the essential skills and criteria the job requires then demonstrate how your skills and experience match these requirements.

All of your experience does not have to be work based, tell the potential employer about yourself and personalise your CV by including your experiences gained through volunteering experiences and your education.

Ranking Skills and Experience

Many job descriptions and specifications will clearly state “Essential” and “Desirable” requirements for applicants and will rank the requirements for the job from “Most Important” to “Least Important”. Don’t allow this to go unnoticed and make sure that you list and rank your skills and experiences in terms of this particular job in the same way. 

For example, if the job advertisement indicates that you are required to write reports as your main task, and you did that in a previous job, list that task statement first when describing that job. Make sure that the potential employer can quickly and easily identify you as a promising candidate.

Avoid including information that is totally unrelated to the job you are applying for. 

Screening Questions

Many employers only quickly scan each CV looking for the answers to their own screening questions, which are often: 

  • Does this person have related experience? 
  • Does this person have the qualification/education I’m looking for? 
  • Will this person add value to our business? 

This basic information should be easy to find and easy to read. If the answers to these questions are found easily, they will keep your CV and read it more closely for further information and you will reach the next stage of being invited for interview. 

Don’t forget: The myPlan CV Builder contains hints, tips and guidance to help you to create your CV in four easy steps - plus you can save many different versions in your account. Login now to get started!