Having a generic CV is great, but what’s even better is a tailored CV. It may be tiring to tailor your CV for every job, when all you want to do is apply for roles quickly (and find a job quickly), but a tailored CV can get you noticed faster. So it’s really worth spending the time to tailor your CV.
Is it possible to quickly tailor your CV? Yes, it is and the more you do it, the easier it gets. Follow these simple steps to make tailoring a CV easy and efficient.
Read the job description carefully
The first thing you should do is to read the job description carefully and pick out keywords. Many candidates fail to impress hiring managers because they simply didn’t take the time to read the job description carefully.
We understand you may not have a lot of time. Quite often candidates want to apply for different roles quickly in order to secure a job fast. However, understanding the job you are applying for, and what it entails, will help you to tailor your CV quickly – and give you a better chance at getting an interview.
Is your CV representing you as the right candidate?
In other words, does your CV contain enough keywords that match the job description and requirements? Does your experience match the job’s requirements? If you have the right skills and experience, then it’s easy to fill up your CV with the right keywords. Of course, it becomes more difficult to use keywords when you don’t have the right experience.
Example of a job posting:
Role: EXECUTIVE WRITER
Location: South West London
Key Purpose: You will work as part of a team of writers on the following market access projects for global pharmaceutical clients:
- Value Dossiers and value stories to support the case for new products
- Literature reviews to inform clinical trial and economic model design
- Analyses of the pricing, reimbursement and competitive landscapes
- Reports from payer advisory boards
The Executive Writer is an opportunity to use a sound scientific background in a writing role within a dynamic and commercial consultancy environment.
Excellent salary plus benefits
Let’s pick out the keywords here
Economic Model Design
Who would get an interview for the above role?
Based on the above keywords, who is likely to be contacted for this role? The first and foremost important experience that they are looking for is that the candidate comes from a scientific background. So before you apply, do you have the first essential requirement? It may be a degree, or perhaps you have significant experience working in the sector. Even if you are a brilliant writer, don’t bother applying if you don’t have a “sound scientific background”.
How to quickly tailor your CV for this role
Clearly mention your degree in science along with the grade (if it’s good). Have you worked as a writer before? If yes, make sure this title is also clearly mentioned on your CV as they are looking for a writer, even if it was in another field.
Do you have experience working in the pharmaceutical sector? If yes, ensure the word pharmaceutical is clearly highlighted on your CV.
What are the other top keywords mentioned? Market access, pricing and reimbursement, analysis, clinical trial, economic model design…
The more experience you have in these areas and therefore the more keywords you can use on your CV, the more likely you are to secure an interview.
These keywords can be mentioned on any section of your CV: on the profile section where you give a short summary of your career, on the work experience section where you use bullet points to highlight key achievements and responsibilities. You can also list them in the skills section and the education section.
With keywords, you have to be careful you are not just randomly placing them, but rather using them in the right context. Otherwise, you may have your CV forwarded to the hiring manager, but once they see it it will lack clarity and they will move on to the next CV.
It’s important to showcase your most recent job
Your most recent role, which appears as the first job experience on your CV, is the most important because it is the first role the recruiter sees. So, it is essential that you tailor this part of your CV well. Ensure you have plenty of keywords, and also highlight your key achievements.
Beat the applicant tracking system (ATS)
Other than tailoring your CV for the job you are applying for, it’s important you also format it correctly so it passes the applicant tracking system (ATS). The ATS is a software used by large companies and recruiters to scan the large value of documents they receive.
Sometimes recruiters and hiring managers receive almost 1000 CVs for a single job posting. As they don’t have the time to read through the huge amount of CVs sent, they use the ATS software to scan the documents they receive. If during the scanning your CV comes across as unsuitable, it will not be forwarded to the recruiter.
As well as optimising your CV with keywords, you also have to be aware of other things the ATS software is sensitive to in order to get your CV across to hiring managers. Choose the correct file: the most easily read formats are .doc and .docx. PDFs are not preferred as they are not compatible with most ATS software. If you are not a Microsoft user, you can also use Google Docs.
Also, avoid graphics and photos. They will not be read by the software and will get your CV lost in a “black hole”. Apparently more than 70% of CVs end up lost and are never seen. Choose a clean layout, with easy to read font and size. The more professional and neat your CV looks, the more you will come across well. Read more on the ATS here.