As a professional CV writer I am often asked by customers to prepare a general CV for them that will cover all their potential job requirements. This is not something I would recommend unless there is a substantial overlap in what the CV is being used for. Instead it is important to have various versions of your CV to ensure it is tailored to the jobs and the industry you are applying for. The core of your CV can be the same, but here are some tips in what areas you should tailor prior to applying for each position.
Professional Profile: This is probably one of the most important areas to amend for the positions you are applying for even if this is just slightly. You should study the job advert and ensure that that the attributes set out are highlighted in the professional profile. This will also assist you to pass ‘Applicant Tracking Systems’.
Key Skills: This is an optional section within a CV, but is a good way for recruiters to see at a glance that you meet the role criteria. So, for example, you may be looking for customer service or account management roles where the skills required are different, but may be satisfied by tailoring your CV (including your career summary). For example, if you are in marketing but have good graphic design experience you will need two CVs to apply for roles within each respective area. Therefore having more than one version of your CV becomes critically important to success.
Career Summary: You will not need to do too much work here, but it is advisable to reflect aspects of the job advert and think about what is important to the recruiter. Ensure you have demonstrated the skills they are seeking appropriately. An effective way to show this to an employer is to re-order some of your responsibilities so the most important points to the employer are mentioned first. In some cases adding additional relevant responsibilities and removing irrelevant ones is advisable.
Education and Qualifications: It is quite difficult to tailor this area, but if this is a graduate position you are applying for then it is recommended to place this area before your Career Summary. However, be careful about mentioning every single module you have completed in your degree as this can clutter your CV. Also if you have decided to change direction and you are currently studying a subject to assist you in gaining your first opportunity within this sector then make sure this section is placed before your Career Summary.
Additional Information: This is the section that typically includes your IT Skills, if you drive, any languages you speak and any interests you have. Again think about what the recruiter is seeking here. So if you are in Marketing then mention the systems you use here and if you are in graphic design again mentioning the software you use is beneficial too. Apart from IT skills depending on your field this section does not require much tailoring at all.
The last thing I want to mention is format. Format might not seem important when tailoring your CV, but re-ordering or re-formatting your CV to suit each role may help emphasise your experience and skills more effectively. Just something extra to consider.
I hope this is helpful and as always, good luck!
*Emma Alkirwi is the Managing Director of which is a leading service provider of professionally written CVs, LinkedIn Profiles, cover letters in the UK and they also provide specialist consultancy services. Emma has over 10 years experience in recruitment and employment related services covering a wealth of industries. Having been a professional employment consultant for several years, she has provided professional advice covering everything from professional CV/LinkedIn writing, effective job searching, interview skills and preparation, presentation techniques, and general professional coaching.