How to Tailor Your CV to a Particular Job in Ten Minutes

Our Reader Score - Click to Add
[Total: 17 Average: 4.6]

How to tailor your CV in 10 Minutes

Share this Page

This page describes how to tailor your CV to a particular job. Tailoring your CV is an essential task for helping you to get on the ‘yes for interview’ pile. As stated previously, the purpose of a CV is simply to get the interview. A tailored curriculum vitae will directly reflect your skills, competencies and experiences against the role requirements. If you follow our methodology, this is a simple exercise to complete.

Think of it this way, if you want to buy a car and you have a list of features such as economical, four doors, and in blue, it is unlikely that you will buy a two seater black sports car with a three litre engine. It is exactly the same with your CV and below you will find out how to tailor your CV to a particular job. The method is described below:

The Process for How to Tailor Your CV to a Particular Job

1. Create a CV format as a template

This is covered in the previous section on how to format your CV. Once you have a generic and formatted CV, we can use this to change only certain parts of the CV and show you how to tailor your CV to a particular job.

The following is taken from an actual advertisement. we have eliminated the organisations sales lines, and simply kept the text that is useful for tailoring your CV, or provides some context for this exercise:

“[organisation] Operations Managers are passionate, commercially driven and form part of close knit and supportive teams. Each Operations Manager at [organisation] has full accountability for approximately 10-13 [outlets]. They are responsible for looking after profit at each site, driving commercial targets, inspiring and developing their people, new [outlet] openings, refurbishments of existing sites, new [product] launches amongst many other things and this means no two days at [organisation] are the same for our fantastic Operations Managers.

The successful candidate will already have managed teams operationally in a multi-site capacity and will have a proven track record in exceeding targets and driving performance through their teams. You will be able to demonstrate an ability to grow and develop talent, plan effectively and above all, to deliver ambitious financial targets. Whilst someone from an Operational Manager background in the [sector description] sector would be ideal, this may also represent an opportunity for someone with a food, retail, contract catering or public house background.

We are looking for someone with an understanding of the commercial opportunities within [organisation] and who can bring ideas and action plans to drive the business even further forward within your geographical area. You will be passionate about our customers and what it takes to provide the very best service each and every time. Key to the success of this role is an ability to develop your existing management teams to achieve their full potential and a flair for recruiting new management teams to enhance the quality of your team.

We need someone who truly understands the [organisation] business, who is proud of the high standards inbuilt in our culture and who has the entrepreneurial flair to take our business to the next level. 

If you think you have the leadership style to inspire and motivate our Managers to drive performance to its highest potential whilst creating a passionate team culture, then you could be the next member of our already strong team of Operations Managers.”

2. Analyse the Key Words in the advert, person specification or job description

For how to tailor your CV to a particular job, you simply analyse the key words in the advert itself. If we take the above example, the key words, and possibly in this order (based on how much they are mentioned and the context):

  1. Commercial targets/financial targets/profit
  2. Driving performance
  3. Developing/develop talent
  4. Manage teams operationally/multi-site
  5. Inspire and motivate
  6. Recruiting new teams
  7. Team culture

3. Make changes to your personal profile

When you are thinking about how to tailor your CV to a particular job, use the key words. These should appear in your personal profile. In this case, the personal profile should include:

  • Operations Manager
  • Multi-site experience
  • Commercial and financial targets
  • Driving performance
  • Developing talent
  • Recruiting, inspiring and motivating teams with a desired culture

Assuming the individual applicant has a relevant background in operations, the personal profile could look like this:

An accomplished and entrepreneurial Operations Manager with over 10 years experience operating in customer facing multi-site environments with a successful track record of exceeding commercial financial targets. Particular areas of expertise includes driving performance of management teams, developing talent across the business, and recruiting, inspiring and motivating teams against towards the desired culture, and against commercial targets.

We have simply used their words. This does two things. Firstly, it ticks the boxes for the recruiter. Secondly, because we have used their actual words, the recruitment system will also pick them up.

4. Skills and achievement Tailored

This section is your sales pitch. It is where we use their key words as sub-headings, and then use your matching achievements as evidence.

This process is simple if you have developed your ‘achievements bank‘.

If we continue the example, we will use all of the headings above (certainly the first 4, and may combine some of the others). However, for brevity and just to provide the idea, the first two might look something like this (depending on the candidates experience):

Commercial Targets, Financial Targets and Profit

  • Increased total revenue across 10 operating unit against target by over 15% in two consecutive years with a total increased profit of £562,000.
  • Reduced waste by 23% in a single year against target resulting in £172,000 reduction in costs.
  • Increased overall customer satisfaction by 9% which placed us first in the country and 11% above target.

Driving Performance

  • Turned-around the bottom 3 performing outlets in the group and enhanced profitability by an average of £275,000. All 3 are now in the top half of the league tables against 5 of the 6 main KPI’s.
  • Was awarded 1st place for Operations Manager Outlet Performance from a field of 12 Operations Managers and received the the ‘Chairman’s Prize’.

Developing Talent

  • Coached 12 Deputy Managers over a 3 year period with a resulting 100% promotion rate and 100% retention.
  • Over a 3-year period selected by the organisation as a primary mentor and have developed 25 staff within my teams into more senior roles across other regions and to supporting functions. Of these, 96% are still retained in the organisation.

You will find examples of well-written achievements here. Please note, that if you have created an achievements bank, you then simply type the sub-titles and cut and paste your appropriate achievements across. A five minute task.

5. Other areas of your CV

To tailor your CV you may also wish to adjust a few other areas too. However, these are generally less important. Using the generic template, you can tailor your CV in the following areas:

  • Career History – use achievements that you have not already used from your achievements bank that match the needs identified above.
  • Qualifications and Professional Development – you may have undertaken a number of ‘courses’ over time. Quite frankly it is unlikely that you can fit them all on your CV. Therefore, in order to tailor your CV, be selective of which courses you use in the CV. Where possible, use those that match the requirements of the role.

How to Tailor Your CV to a particular job: Conclusion

You have a much greater chance of your CV being selected for interview if you tailor your CV to a particular job.

To tailor your CV is a relatively simple process as long as you have done the initial groundwork. Understand the advertisement, use their words and tailor your CV around those key words.

You will find other tools to help you in this section. Particularly, the researched words that work well and recruiters find attractive within your CV.

To continue with this pathway, have a look at the researched words that work well on CV’s.

Related Pages

These pages directly compliment and add further information to this area.


How to write a CV link

How to Write a CV



Winning CV Format link

Winning CV Format



CV Template Link

CV Template Achievements Focus


If you are following the pathway, move on to the anatomy of a winning CV.

Share this Page

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *