If you are looking for a new role this year, you will most likely have dusted off your CV and started to update it to reflect your current skills and experiences. This is an obvious first step in your job hunt but not where the journey ends for your CV! I think most of you know that you should have a few versions of your CV that are tailored to different types of roles, but you should also slightly adjust your CV depending on each position that you apply for. Yeah, I know what you are saying! This is a lot of work right? Yes, it is, but evidence suggests that you have much more success getting past recruitment algorithms when you slightly adjusted your CV to reflect the job description attached to the role. So how do we adjust a CV, without too much extra work, so that we get through to interview? Here are some examples of how to do just that.

How to adjust your CV depending on the role

Let’s use a current example of a description that I saw posted for a role in London this week. Here is the text:

We are looking for a polished and experienced EA to join a tight and dynamic team, providing seamless support to the Chief Executive. 

WHAT YOU’LL DO

This is a varied role in a fast-paced environment, supporting at the top of the business. You will take responsibility for the professional and personal affairs of the Chief Executive, ensuring the smooth running of a high profile Private Office that is associated with the luxury industry. 

Duties will include:

  • Extensive diary management, using Outlook
  • Extensive inbox management
  • Acting as Gatekeeper
  • Building and maintaining database of contacts
  • Events planning
  • Ad-hoc private support, including personal travel arrangements, booking restaurants, property management
  • Meet and greet of guests, representing at events


WHO YOU ARE

You will be a polished EA with proven experience, ideally in the luxury or hospitality industries. You will have excellent communication skills and telephone manner. You will be adept at working in a fast-paced environment and responsive to last-minute changes. 

You will have a strong work ethic and be willing to muck in with anything that is required. This is a small team that work cohesively together, so they are looking for a positive individual with a good sense of humour to fit in with their fun working environment.  

The first step is this. Look through the job advert and description and pull out the keywords. If you are not sure what the recruiter is looking for, then use something like a word cloud generator to pull all of the keywords out of the text (I got this idea from an article in The Muse, and it is brilliant). Use something like TagCrowd, copy in the job description text, see which words are prevalent throughout the text and them to your CV.

Some of the keywords in this particular example were:

  • Fast-paced
  • Luxury
  • management
  • polished
  • responsive
  • executive
  • support
  • professional
  • proven
  • team

Once you can see the keywords, it makes it much easier to put them directly into your CV; for example, you could add ‘proven track record of high-level executive support and management in the luxury industry’ within your personal statement.

What are the key requirements?

Make sure your skills match the critical requirements from the job description. It should be evident to the recruiter that you can do this job, so make sure the key elements appear at the top of the CV and are highlighted throughout your career history, experience and education.

What are your transferable skills?

If you are applying for a role that doesn’t precisely match your experience, it is always worth applying for if you want it. Just make sure that you add some transferable skills that make up for anything specific. Using our example, if you wanted to apply, but you don’t have experience using Outlook, you could write that you have experience managing diaries and emails and you could also write that you are very quick to learn new IT systems and software. Transferable skills will always help you make up for any experience you might be lacking, and as Assistants, we are lucky because more of our abilities are transferrable.

Sometimes the job description can be pretty basic, and although the role might look okay, the company might be amazing, so you want to apply anyway. If that is the case, you should check out the company website, particularly look at their company culture page and again pull out keywords and phrases that you can add to your CV. Soft skills, personality and team fit, are often as essential as your experience and hard skills so make sure you adjust your CV to reflect the character they are after not just the knowledge. In our case it is clear they want a team player with a sense of humour that doesn’t mind getting stuck into things – make sure that is obvious on your CV.

Preparing for the Perfect PA Role

We cover all aspects of looking for a new Assistant role in our eBook, Preparing for the Perfect PA Role, including a few tips on what you should do once you land your new job and work with a new Executive. Download the book here.

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