Composing a CV which shows you to your very best, employable advantage can seem like a mammoth task. So when you get it right, it can be all the more tempting to declare it a perfect specimen, never to be altered in any way. And yet, having just one, generic CV may very well be holding you back in your search for the job of your dreams. Here are XXX reasons why having a one size fits all CV could actually be professionally holding you back.
Some businesses are quite specific in their company culture and values. Therefore, any CV which seems particularly incongruous to the company it’s targeted for will simply make a candidate seem poorly suited to the job. Whether you appear overly stuffy to a more casual startup, or sloppy and unprofessional at a more traditional place of work, getting the tone wrong is a sure fire way to get your CV onto the “no” pile.
If you’re trying to make a CV fit all potential job applications, the likelihood is that you’ll have to miss out on some of the important specifics. Rather than tailor particular experiences to a candidate specification, it’s likely you’ll have to rely more broadly on buzzwords and clichés. Not only does this make you CV impersonal, but it can also make your (very real) talents seem less real and valid.
One of the most common CV mistakes is making yours overly wordy. And this problem can be exacerbated by relying on one generic CV. If you aren’t sure exactly what job you’re applying for, then you’ll be reluctant to leave things out, just in case they’re the key skills an employer is looking for. But if a CV turns out over around three pages, it’s unlikely to expect a recruiter to read through the whole thing and pick out the appropriate skills and experience. That should be down to you.
In a competitive job market, sometimes employers rely on a computer program to do a first-stage “weeding out” process to remove CVs that seem totally unsuited to the position. The problem is, this is an imperfect process. By making sure your CV contains some key phrases from the job description and candidate spec, you can better safeguard your position in the job search and ensure your CV gets to see the light of day.
A CV which contains totally irrelevant experiences and skills may end up seeming like a mistake. And mistakes on a job application are a sign that you’re a little bit lazy, tend to rush things, or, at worst, aren’t that serious about the application. Either way, it doesn’t come across well.
If an ideal candidate specification has certain facets which are on the generic side, simply including them in your CV is unlikely to seem very impressive to a recruiter. What they’ll most probably be looking for is solid proof and evidence that you fit the bill. The best CVs will look at skills required on a specification, and then include instances of these skills being utilised within the CV. It takes a little more work than simply regurgitating information, but if it gets you the job you want, surely it’s worth it.
If all of this hasn’t put you off using a generic CV, consider this: employers will always notice when you haven’t customised it towards the job in hand. And if they have to choose between a candidate who has spent time and energy on their application and one who has just sent off the same old word document, which way do you think they’ll sway? If you want to give yourself a fair chance, you really must show employers you’ve made the effort.
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