How To Tailor Your CV and Land Your Dream Job

One of the most effective ways to show that you are the perfect candidate for a role is by ensuring your CV showcases your most relevant skills. One technique for achieving that is by tailoring your CV to the position.

People are the most valuable asset to 99% of organisations. They are often what makes the difference between a company making a profit or not. Providing a great customer experience or not. Adding value to clients’ businesses or not.

Recruiting new staff is therefore a well-considered element in any growing business. As a job-hunter, it’s important to keep this in mind. Company founders and HR managers want to know that if they are going to place you within their organisation, that you are a worthwhile investment.

Tailoring your CV might take a little longer than adopting a batch-and-blast approach, but it will pay dividends and help you secure a higher response rate.

When you tailor your CV, you need to fully understand which of your qualities, skills and experience are the most relevant to the vacancy.

Here are our four top pieces of advice for doing so:

1. Thoroughly read the job description

Only by reading a job description line-by-line, can you recognise all expected skills. Our advice is to print the description off, picking out key phrases and highlighting the areas in which you know you have evidenced experience.

List these specific skills on a piece of paper and begin to write down how you can showcase them.

For example, if you’re applying for a site manager role, and one of the job tasks requires you to manage contractors, how can you effectively showcase this skill? If you already have direct experience in that area, write a sentence or two about a particularly challenging project and how you overcame any difficulties. If you’ve not functioned in a site manager role, but you have worked on construction sites, you could highlight how you previously coordinated with, and effectively delegated to, other tradespeople.

It’s also important to remember that many employers now use software which is able to scan applications before being reviewed by a person, picking up keywords and phrases related to the job role – so don’t underestimate the value of using the words written in the description.

2. Showcase the most relevant skills first

If you boast some of the most important skills required for a certain employer, don’t hide them – showcase them. Tailor the CV by repeating them at the top of your CV in your profile section, to make sure they get noticed first.

3. Be selective

Only choose to mention the most relevant qualities for the role. Don’t waffle about experience that isn’t relevant, if it doesn’t add value to the employer. For example, you might be particularly proud of that ski season you spent working, but if it was years ago and you’re applying for a director role in construction, is it really worth taking up valuable space on your CV?

On the flipside, if you spent that ski season being a chef and you’re applying for a hospitality role, then of course it’s important to include it.

Remember not to cut too much information, particularly entire roles – as it will leave gaps in your employment history – and core industry skills.

4. Tweak your personal statement

Explain to the reader why you want to work within their particular role and for their particular company. Do your research and find out what makes the organisation tick. Ensure that your personal statement reflects the qualities and tone of the business. If they are a web developer, you can take a more relaxed stance than if you were applying for position within a corporate law firm, for example.

Additional things to think about:

  • Always be truthful. If you don’t have a particular skill, don’t list it. You can always address any gaps in your personal statement and explain that you’re keen to learn new skills and progress within the role.
  • If you are applying for a job in another city, but are willing to relocate, indicate this next to your contact information.

Remember, the difference between landing your dream role or not can often be down to submitting a highly-personalised, well-researched and skilfully-prioritised CV and a generic one.

Are you ready to put these tips into action and find your next role?

XCL is a leading recruitment agency based in Huddersfield, specialising in helping candidates find jobs within the automotive, engineering, construction, commercial and production sectors.

We are proud to work with some of the country's leading businesses, with whom we have established long-term partnerships.

If you’re looking for a new job, apply for one of our current vacancies here, using your newly-tailored CV, or send a copy of it to