Do you need to tailor your CV for every role?

We find out why you should not rely on just one version of your CV to work effectively – check out our best practice advice.


In a world where the focus of technology appears to be on making the process of applying for a job as swift and as easy as possible, job seekers can be forgiven for thinking that this means applying for as many jobs as possible in the least amount of time may be the best route to success. This is often at the expense of the application itself, where one generic CV is used for every application. This scattergun approach often leads to frustration when, having applied for hundreds of roles, there are few – if any – interview offers.

No two jobs are exactly the same

Even if you know exactly which types of jobs you are targeting, you should not rely on just one version of your CV to work effectively. Try out a little test. Find three job descriptions online that best fit your target roles. For example, try searching ‘financial controller job description’. Read each job description carefully. You will no doubt see lots of differences between them. How then can you expect one version of your CV to work effectively in aligning to the requirements of each?

Spend more time on fewer applications

In my job as a CV writer, I speak to many job seekers. Often they are frustrated that their CV is yielding little success. In discussing how to improve their CVs, very often the answer does not lie in the CV itself, but in how it is being used. While we may provide valuable tips and advice in getting the CV up to scratch, the CV then needs to be tailored for each and every application. There are two parts to a successful job application strategy.

  1. Create a concise, focused and professional looking CV that demonstrates your expertise.
  2. Tailor the CV for each application.

Tailoring a CV is not as arduous as it might seem

It may be a daunting prospect to think that a CV needs to be tailored for every job. But tailoring a CV is not as challenging as might first appear. If you are in the process of updating your CV and not applying for a specific job, you are really aiming for a CV to be 90% there.

The main sections that will need changing are the professional profile and key skills sections. The profile needs to be aligned to the personal qualities of the role. Adapt the key skills to those in the job description and person specification. This will help the CV to get through the applicant tracking system. If you are applying for similar type roles, the rest of the CV should not need wholesale changes.

How much do you want the job?

If tailoring a CV still seems like a lot of hassle, it is worth asking yourself just how much do you want the job you are applying for? If you are genuinely excited when reading about a new role, then surely it is worth doing everything you can to give yourself the best chance of securing an interview?

Being in a job you enjoy and can thrive in is crucial. Tailoring your CV is an important step that can help get you into a job that improves both your material and mental wellbeing.

This article is written by Neville Rose, director of CV Writers