Customize Your CV
a good way to stand out from the crowd of applicants
We have discussed about the very basic yet effective template for your professional CV. Now, let’s take it to the advanced level of how to customize your CV. Why does customization matter then?
→ Firstly, when you customize your CV, you will need use the keywords in the job requirements. With those keywords included, your CV will be more likely to pass the automatic scanning round.
→ Then your CV will be reviewed by HR officers. The customization will at least convince the HR that: You are indeed interested in the job, you did some research on the job, and you put effort in presenting yourself. All of that already give you the very first big plus.
Moreover, if you study general program (for example: Business Administration, or Economics), or want to spread your search across different positions, we highly recommend you to customize your CV. For beginners, it is neither easy nor pleasant to customize your CV for every single position. So, let’s keep in mind the benefits we can earn from doing so firstly. And now, let us help you in self-encouraging with the following tips to bring the best out of your CV:
1. Before customizing your CV, read the job’s description carefully
While you are scanning through the job position offered, highlight the keywords on required skills and tasks. We will definitely need to use those keywords in our CV later on. It is also good to pay extra attention to repeated words because they will give you a certain hint about what the emphasis is (to a certain level).
Don’t ignore and underestimate this step. It may sound easy and silly, but it will make sure that you won’t leave out any important information by mistake.
2. Call or contact the recruiters upfront
Cold-calling will let recruiters know that you are doing a serious research to get to know about the job. It shows your interest and effort. And you can always mention that you called them in your cover letter. So, what do you should ask?
→ Don’t ask something obviously mentioned in the description or it can be easily found online;
→ What are the main tasks? You may find a lot of responsibilities the company requires for a specific role. However, there will be minor tasks (administrative tasks for instance). These tasks are normally not the key criteria for candidate selection, i.e. whether you have the skills to do it or not does not matter that much to the recruiters.
→ What are the most decisive criteria? Similarly with the previous one, you will probably need to know what to emphasize/ mention in your CV and cover letter. Why? Because we need to keep out application short and comprehensive.
And, what if you are too shy to call? Don’t worry. Let’s practice by calling recruiters of companies whose position is not your greatest interest. Those trials will improve the quality for the (next) important positions. It may take quite a few times before you get used to that. But you will definitely make it as long as you try. Sending emails is also an active approach, but we do not recommend it since you may have to wait for awhile for their answers.
3. Mix and Match your skills to the job’s description – best way to customize your CV
If you just simply apply to 1 specific type of jobs, you may not need to do much work. However, different jobs have different requirements and priorities. Let’s make our recruiters know that we are well-informed about the positions.
After highlighting the keywords as suggested earlier, you will need to mention those key points in your CV, by using the exact words or their synonyms. Don’t miss out any thing unless you don’t have or cannot prove. Also, if possible, you can re-arrange the order of items in your CV by putting the most relevant/important items firstly. You can also add/ modify/ omit the skills, educational, or other details as well.
For instance, you apply for 2 positions: Junior Marketing Officer and Project Management Analyst. Assuming that you have a Business Administration degree, which makes you qualified for both position in terms of education. BUT, the skills required are different in some aspects. For the Marketing position, you should have at least mention one Marketing-related module in Education part. For the Work Experience, let’s talk about your achievements and soft skills required for Marketeers (presentation, negotiation, communications, debating competitions, etc)
On the other hand, for Project management, those marketing skills are not really well-matched with the criteria. It’s good that you have it, but it is totally fine if you don’t.
And yes, for the overlapped requirements, you can always leave them the same in both CV.
Another small advice: If you apply for many different types of job, let’s create a general template for each one firstly and store it in separate folder. For example: one CV template for Analyst positions and another for Sales.
→ Rule of thump: Maximum 2 pages for CV and 1 page for Cover Letter;
→ PDF versions only when sending your application (to prevent printing and different format issues in other computers);
→ Page margins: Avoid using narrow margin, it is better to stick the normal (or at least custom) type. Be critical with your contents instead of writing everything down. Why? The recruiters do not have enough time to read all of them.
→ Bullet points: Let’s replace long sentences with bullet points. They will make the content clear and short;
→ Clear font and lay-out: Disney font is amazing, but please don’t use it. It is way too hard to read. Font choice depends on your preference, but it needs to be easy-to-read for others. You can click check out these suggestion for fonts.
5. Use creative words to describe yourself
It is kind of tricky to do this. But it is way much better to avoid using cliche words such as “team player”, “dedicated”, “detail-oriented”, etc. However, if you don’t have a great range of vocabulary, it is still fine to use cliche words as long as you have a good story to back them up.
You can also check out the most recent skills desired by most recruiters online by creditable publishers such as Forbes. Lastly, don’t forget to check grammar and typos. It won’t take you long but it ensures your CV’s perfection.
Those 5 tips are the main factors that you should definitely pay attention when preparing your CV. A well-tailored CV to the position will always bring you benefits one way or another. So we hope that these 5 tips could help you at least having an idea how to customize your CV.
Have you tried these steps and succeeded? Do you want to share any stories/ advice with us and others? Still have some concerns? Leave us a message under the comment part then.