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Target your CV to the job

When targeting your CV to a job – think about the areas in a CV that most interest potential employers. Then show that you have the requisite skills and abilities!

1. Consider the four main areas employers look at when reading your CV

Education

You can use this section to show you have the ability to think clearly, draw conclusions, work without supervision, etc. Try to be specific. It's best to point to particular aspects of your degree course or other education rather than just making a general comment.

Specific Skills

Some jobs call for specific skills in areas such as computing and foreign languages. Even relatively easily acquired skills such as driving and the ability to use a word processing package are often useful – however only include these if they are relevant to the position you’re applying for.

Work Experience

A summer job, voluntary work or travel can often be used to show that you can get on with people, work in a team, work under pressure and meet deadlines, etc.

Leisure Interests

Your leisure pursuits, particularly if they involve other people, may show that you can plan and organise, co-operate with others, compete, work hard to achieve results, lead teams, etc.

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2. Isolate the essential elements of the job

Use the job description to figure out what the employer wants. Make a list, with the most important attribute first and the least important last.

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3. Look for the things you've done which you can present as having similar features

Applying for a job where you have to be orderly and methodical? Mention activities you carried out in a systematic way, e.g. being the secretary of a society or a vacation job that called for attention to detail.

If, in the job, you have to... You could mentionFor example
Persuade other peopleActivities where you had to influence others Sponsored charity events, vacation job selling things
Help people with their problemsSituations where you helped others with their difficulties Helping on 'nightline', being someone your fellow students could confide in
Be in charge of peopleOccasions where you made decisions or got others to help you carry them outSetting up a new club, being chair of a committee
Plan and organiseTimes when you envisaged a number of possibilities and decided between themPlanning an elaborate holiday itinerary
Think and solve problemsTimes when you thought of more efficient ways of doing things Thinking of better ways to carry out the work routine in a vacation job
Use creative flairOccasions when you came up with something new Thinking of new projects for a club that you belong to
Work under pressureTimes when you had to cope with lots of different deadlinesOrganising a social event while also meeting important course deadlines

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