One of the hardest parts of the job search is figuring out what to put into your CV. So many people use the same generic CV to apply for a number of jobs and are then frustrated when they hear nothing back.

Employers are looking for the person who best fits the role they have advertised. However, all they have to start with is a single piece of paper! It’s so important that this piece of paper puts you in a good light. The trick to standing out from the crowd is to tailor your CV for every job application.

Here are FrancisJames’ top tips to tailor your CV:

Use keywords found in the position description

The first step to nailing your CV is to carefully read through the position description. Here you can highlight the key skills and experience the employer is looking for and the keywords used to describe them. You may be tempted to send the same application to two different employers with similar positions. However, different employers are looking for different skills!

For example, the position description may state:

Outstanding oral and written communication skills

Experience in all levels of court advocacy

In your personal statement you may write:

I have outstanding oral and written communication skills, and am able to communicate effectively to a wide variety of stakeholders from different walks of life. This has proven useful in my experience with clients across all levels of court advocacy.

Some employers with high application rates have started to use AI software to specifically search for these keywords, so the more you’re able to work into your CV, the better.

Research the company

Research can be invaluable in learning about key organisational structures or values within the company. You can then use this knowledge to tailor your CV. If the company use a co-working space, you can write about how you thrive in any environment and are able to work well despite distractions. If the company value philanthropy, you can prioritise your volunteer or philanthropic experience.

Researching a potential employer will show you are interested in working with the employer itself and are not just applying for every open position available.

Tailor your previous experience to the current application

Tailoring your previous experience to the current application can improve your chances of getting the job. List your past employment in order of relevance to the role for which you’re applying along with a quick summary of your achievements and responsibilities. With less relevant work you can leave this summary out.

When listing previous jobs, don’t be afraid to list work irrelevant to your current field – large gaps in your employment history may be a turn off for some employers. However, if you have established a well-rounded professional career, it is not necessary to include your first job packing groceries.

Be yourself

The purpose of a CV is to sell your employer on what they can gain from having you as an employee. So, just be honest and highlight the best parts of your experience. Show them why they simply can’t live without you!