Is your CV specific or generic? Take the Test

Written by AutoApply

90% of job seekers still use generic CVs. So, if you’re in the 10% minority who take the time to adapt your CV for each employer, you stand a great chance of success.

Most job seekers have a CV documenting a series of responsibilities (“managed a team of five,” “responsible for delivering a sales target of £1m pa,” or “reconciled accounts every month”). Some give a profile, highlighting their critical skills, and maybe include a few examples as evidence. Very few compose their CVs according to the specific requirements of a company.

A straightforward method to make your CV specific is to analyze the job description, ensure you use similar language, and meet each requirement. This is a good starting point, but you can also refer to their website, research the general role, function, industry, and company type online, talk to existing employees, and use your network, such as LinkedIn, to understand more about the kind of person the organization is likely to employ.

The more specific the CV is to the employer you apply to, the greater your success of being invited to interview.

Take the test

Each of the criteria below is an example of where you can make your CV specific to the employer and the role.

Give yourself one point each time you match something in your CV to the company’s requirements or job description within each of the criteria below. You get multiple points if you check several skills or adjectives.

How many points does your CV score?

  1. General job role: Sales, engineer, marketing, IT, HR, finance, research, consultant.
  2. Function: Management, new business, account management, online or offline marketing, technical specialist, project manager, director.
  3. Industry: Travel, FMCG, media, consulting, finance.
  4. Type of company: Small, medium, large, multinational, disparate, high growth, mature, fledgling, conglomerate. 
  5. Core skills needed for the role: Influence and communication, leadership and teamwork, commercial awareness, creativity, analysis and decision-making, and customer focus. 
  6. Job description: Have you included evidence to support your claims that match the job description? One point for each supporting statement.
  7. Employer: What can you bring to Company X? Are you a good cultural fit? What challenge does Company X face that you can help with? One point per question addressed.

How did you perform?

  • Under 5 points: Your CV is unlikely to secure you an interview.
  • 5-7 points: Borderline, with a good cover letter, you may be asked in for an interview
  • Over 7 points: Excellent; count yourself in the top 10%, and expect to be interviewed.

If you have less than 7 points, reconsider your content.  It’s unnecessary to cover every moment above; just be sure enough material exists to demonstrate to a specific employer that you offer more than the next applicant for their company.

Job Seekers

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