Try to think of your CV as an advertisement, and you are the product you need to sell to employers. When you apply for a job, you are competing against hundreds of other candidates for the same position. You only have 10 seconds to catch an employer’s eye. For you to stand a chance, your CV has to stand out. You will need to change your CV specifically to each job you apply for.

The CV you send to employers must only include relevant information to create a good first impression.

What is relevant information?

It is information about yourself that is the same or similar to the job requirements the employer is asking for in the job advert. Skills, qualities, experiences or achievements that match the job advert or job description.

Use your master CV to select and add the relevant information for each job application. Try changing a few words or using synonyms to match the keywords in the job advert, it shows employers that you put in the effort to create a CV specifically for them.

How to customise or change the sections of your CV, for each job you apply for:

1. Personal details: Most of the information should remain the same for all applications. However, be sure to include ‘other relevant’ personal details that may give you an advantage. For example, if you are a parent or caregiver and you are applying for a position where you have to work with children, adding your dependents or number of kids (and their ages) may work in your favour. As it shows that you have experience with children.

2. Objective statement: If you are including an objective or profile statement, make sure you customise it to the specific job you are applying for.
3. Skills & achievements: Choose 3-5 of your skills or qualities that specifically match the skills and qualities the employer asks for in the job advert. Be sure to explain how your skills or qualities developed or helped you perform well at your job and add good examples of what you have achieved as a result.

What you include in the Skills & Achievements section will impact the rest of the information you add in your CV:

4. Work experience: Include where you developed or practised the skill or quality. Include all work experience, volunteer experience, and informal jobs if you have very little or no work experience; if you are a recent matriculant or graduate, or you are changing careers.
5. Education and training: Include where and what you studied or trained. Include all important qualifications and high school information. Include other certificates and training information that are relevant to the job.
6. Additional information: Only include hobbies and interests if they are in-line with the job you are applying for or shows your determination and personality.
7. References: Include 3 people who can prove that you are able to do what you mentioned in your skills and qualities, work experience and education and training sections.

Remember, every employer is different, and it will take different information to impress each one. Only include the most impressive and relevant information for that particular job. Always try to present yourself as a doer, not just a dreamer because employers are interested in achieving results.

Quick Tip:

  • The length of a CV should be 1 - 2 pages’ long (3 pages maximum).
  • Check your spelling and never lie about your qualifications or experience!

Don’t waste your time and money sending the same, standard CV to different job applications; there is too much competition. Your CV represents you, so it’s important that you think about the message you want to give to employers, present yourself as a professional and the best candidate for the job!

Next Step: Learn more about the cover letter and how it can help you stand out.