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Always Tweaking your CV?  Do You Need To?


It is perfectly normal to ‘tweak’ your CV when making an application.  Indeed, it is to be enccouraged. There will always be elements of your skills and experience that are of particularly relevance to a job specification. Moving a line or two up the page to a more prominent position is very much the norm if you believe it’s of importance. Almost everyone does this.

Having said that I have also seen applicants almost rewrite their CV every time they prepare an application. Every part of it gets changed with comments added that almost copy the text in the job specification.  This kind of CV ‘stuffing’ is not good practice as it will almost certainly be noticed very quickly by any experienced HR manager.

If this is your practice I would suggest your original CV is suspect or just lacking in the kind of content that would accurately reflect your background and experience. More likely than not this is because you wrote your original CV, as most do and that is, in a hurry. Thereafter every new job or task just got tacked on top of the previous entry and all done without proper thought. As time goes by you CV develops into a very long convoluted list of events that are probably not very interesting and offer nothing that an employer wants to hear about.

If you start tweaking your CV and are adding in a comment you think would be important, stop and ask yourself ‘if this is so interesting why is it not in the body of my CV in the first place.  The answer is because a line or more in the job specification reminded you of an event or an experience you had.

I rest my case. You should have thought of that when you wrote your CV in the first place.

Preparing a CV requires a bit of mental organisation for the want of a better expression. A good exercise it to sit down for half n hour, on your own and let your mind drift back to your very first job.  Slowly think through the people you meet, the tasks you were involved in and events where you know you did well.  No long paragraphs or long descriptions, just a short reminder so you can come back to it later on and develop it further.  Stick with this exercise letting your mind drift through the years and make a quick note here and there, I did this, I did that, and so on.

Recalling the work you have done throughout your career and in sequence is something we don’t do very often. Run through the years making quick notes as you go and you might surprise yourself with the detail that you will recall.  Things you had forgotten all about.

When you review your notes you will see lots of events that you were involved in and would be worth a mention.  You will produce a list of skills you have acquired and so with care and proper attention, develop a list of experiences from the past that are relevant.  You will also notice that several skills keep repeating which is proof-positive that they are true skills and will therefore sit very comfortably on your CV They will be viewed attributes and add to the ‘sale-ability’ of your CV

After carefully selecting all the best parts from your past career, having documented your main achievements, along with a listing of the skills you possess which made these achievements work for you – What’s the need for a Tweak?

Your CV should be good for almost anything you are to apply for unless you are stepping way outside your area of expertise.  In other words: chancing your arm.

Good Luck

Further information about the author, Colm Cavey can be seen below and also at:

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