Targeting your cv

Targeting your CV

Ideally your CV should be configured specifically to the reader. To achieve this construct a core CV using the How to write a killer CV guide then configure that to the recipient each time you send it out.

Applying for an advertised job vacancy

When applying for a specific vacancy, it is vital to target your CV to the job description. There is normally one supplied with the advert, but if there isn’t most companies will be happy to supply you with one. The important thing is to make sure that your CV is configured specifically to the role you are applying for. To achieve this construct a core CV using the How to write a killer CV guide then configure that to the recipient each time you send it out.

Sending out a CV cold to a company who has not advertised a vacancy

It can sometimes pay off to send off your CV to companies even if they are currently not advertising for work. In this case, it is especially important to carry out research into the company. Between your CV and covering letter you need to get across that you know exactly what it is that they do, and that you know where they are heading. If you can tailor your experience to what you think that particular company needs then you are in with a chance (do not fabricate experience).

In your positive objective statement, correlate your ambition and perceived career path with the direction in which you think that this particular company should be heading. For example, b2b development, Internet publishing, m-commerce.

You have to convince them that their business needs you.

Applying for work experience

If you are not sure which direction your career should take then work experience is a good way of helping you to narrow down your choices. It is also a good idea if you have decided on your career and want to experience some time in the job, perhaps with a large, prestigious company.

Demand for work experience within a lot of organisations (particularly in law and the media) and therefore you must ensure you have a quality CV to stand out from the pack. Unless you have serial work experience tendencies, you probably don't have much employment history to write about in your CV. If this is the case do not worry; instead you need to convey your passion for the industry sector, and get across your enthusiasm and desire to get a foot in the door. As part of your introduction, state how you would like your career to develop in the area to which you are applying for experience, but do not be vague; focus on a specific area you are interested in.

If you have taken part in extra curricular activities while at school or university, use these to show your transferable skills, like teamwork and communication skills. You can also show how your GCSE, A-Level or degree choices reflect your commitment to the sector. Describe the relevant skills you have learnt as part of your course; for example, computer skills, teamwork, and public speaking.

Configuring your CV depending upon the medium in which it is being sent Sending your CV via e-mail

The best way to send your CV is in PDF format, attached to an email, along with a cover letter and any other requested documentation. This is the most presentable and easy to read format. Ensure that margins are even, and all headings match. Remember to keep the format as simple as possible. If a new version of Microsoft Office has been released, use the most standard one, just in case the employer does not have the most recent version.

With e-mail you can use hyper links within your CV to guide the reader. For example if you have a smart WebPage, then put the URL down and the reader will be able to visit at the click of a button. If you worked for a little known company, you can link to their website. There is a greater chance of the potential employer looking at what you did if it takes them minimal effort.

Do not over do it, simply because it is e-mail format this is no reason to have elaborate backgrounds of automatically playing midi files. Write a formal e-mail: Dear Sir/Madam, please find attached my covering letter and CV. You may also want to paste your covering letter into the body of the e-mail.

This method of distributing a CV is now standard, and many industries, especially the I.T., publishing and Internet sectors, often actually prefer receiving a CV this way. You can also possibly expect a more rapid response. If you are worried about knowing whether it has been received, ask for a read receipt. This will set your mind at rest and you will know when it has been seen.

Sending your CV in the post

If it is not possible to email in your application, ensure that the envelope is clearly addressed to the correct person and specific department. If possible, print a label for the envelope, and use an A4 one, to avoid folding your application.

Sending your CV by fax

Its pretty rare to have to do this now, and its preferable to email it if at all possible. Make sure you use a cover sheet with the name and department of the CV's recipient in bold writing. Keep margins in and state whether you are expecting a response by fax - if you are using the library's fax machine, you don't want to have to wait by it all day for a possible reply.

Don't spread yourself too thinly

Targeting your CV also means being selective as to whom you send it. There is no point in distributing your CV far and wide if 80% of the jobs to which you are applying are not relevant to your qualifications. Take your time to tailor it to each applicant, and keep a record of the date on which it was sent off so that you can follow it up with a phone call or e-mail if you don't hear back after a week or so.

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