How to tailor your CV / resume in 4 easy steps

Essentially all jobs require some way to validate that the candidate is suitable for the role, and most often, this takes the form of a CV or resume.

Ideally, your resume should be tailored or customised for each job ad.

This article will show you four steps to tailor your resume and includes an example from an actual job ad.

The 4 steps

  1. Analyse the job requirements
  2. Prioritise key attributes for fulfilling those job requirements
  3. Align your experience to those key attributes
  4. Communicate that alignment effectively

Essentially, you want to show how the experience you have demonstrates the key attributes necessary to fulfil the job requirements.

As an example, we will be using a job ad for a Facilities Manager in the education sector, which is shown in full at the bottom of this article with excerpts where needed.

Step 1. Analyse

The first step is to analyse the job description and pick out the key requirements and responsibilities of the job. A tip is to look for verbs - action words.

For example, in this sample Facilities Manager job description, the verbs have been bolded:

Facilities management includes though may not be restricted to:

  • Liaising with external contractors.
  • Scheduling and managing maintenance activities.
  • Implementing and monitoring process and policy for the issue of school keys to staff, hirers and community users.
  • Conducting inspections to ensure building and facilities comply with all security and safety requirements for all users.
  • Maintenance of buildings and grounds, and procurement of furniture and fittings.
  • Oversee facility hire activities including liaison with hirers and development of hire agreements for approval.
  • Cleaning operations including the review of cleaning areas and supervision of cleaning staff.
  • Prioritise and schedule work commitments to meet agreed service standards.
  • Assist in identifying and implementing process improvement opportunities.

Step 2. Prioritise

The second step is to determine the key attributes for fulfilling the job requirements, grouping them where possible, and prioritising them so that you can appropriately focus the content on your resume.

Ask yourself: “what attribute/s will allow me to perform those key actions successfully?”

In our Facilities Manager example, these prioritised attributes based on categorising the verbs could be:

  1. Organised: scheduling (two occurrences), managing, implementing (two occurrences), maintenance, prioritise
  2. Detail-oriented: monitoring, conducting inspections, maintenance, procurement, oversee, cleaning operations, identifying
  3. Good Communicator: liaising (two occurrences)

Step 3. Align

The third step is to find examples that demonstrate those key attributes. If those attributes are in the specific context of the job requirements, even better.

For our Facilities Manager example:

Step 4. Communicate

Now for the most difficult part – communicating how your experience makes you the best person for the job.

Aim for clarity, then conciseness, and think about:

For our Facilities Manager job, let’s take an example of a candidate coming from a retail manager role.

Wrapping up

Remember that tailoring requires there to be some reasonable degree of alignment between the job requirements and your experiences. If you are struggling to with the alignment step, perhaps reconsider if this is really the job for you, or look for ways to gain experience in obvious gaps.

Stay tuned for future articles on dealing with real or perceived experience gaps in our upcoming articles on upskilling.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!