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How to Vary Your CV

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 17 Mar 2013 | comments*Discuss
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When you are contemplating a career change, it is imperative that you are able to vary your CV according to the position you are applying for. While it may sound counter-intuitive, sometimes you actually need to play down certain education or skills in order to get through to the initial interview stages.

There is absolutely no point in simply having a one-size-fits-all CV that you fire off to every job and then complain when you are not getting called for interview. Take some time to work through Your CV and set up a template on your computer that you can use to save different versions. You may find that two or three versions of your CV is plenty for the types of roles you’re looking for, but in times of recession it may be that you need an additional CV for temporary or Freelance Roles, too. Remember that the vast majority of positions are now Applied For Online with a CV as an attached word document, so check how your CV looks in this format.

Creative CV

If you are currently in a more technical or practical position and are looking to make a career change towards a more creative job description, you will need to ensure that your CV doesn’t look too inappropriate. Classic mistakes on a technical CV that’s being used to apply for creative jobs are made on both the layout and the content. Don’t fall into the old trap of trying to make your CV wacky to show how creative you are – the days of coloured paper and silly fonts are, thankfully, long gone.

A good rule of thumb is to keep the CV on one or two pages, with both pages to be full, so don’t leave lots of blank space. Have a short introductory paragraph, or personal profile, at the top of the first page that highlights the aspects of your role that are most transferable to a creative role – think about client relationship building, brainstorming project ideas, dealing with client feedback, understanding briefs and being able to gather together a team and keep them on track.

Temporary and Contract CV

If you’re thinking of applying for temporary work, the type of variations you will need to make on your CV depends on whether they are ‘career’ type temp jobs or ‘pay the bills’ type jobs.

For temporary jobs that are career-focused, you will need to make sure that your CV reflects this type of work as much as possible. With freelance positions, consultancy roles or interim contracts often paying a higher hourly rate on the assumption that you will get the job done quickly and effectively, you need to position yourself as an expert within the field. Of course, this does not mean that you should fib or say that you can do something that you have no experience in, but do make sure that you highlight your project management skills, man management skills, ability to win projects, gain funding or make things happen. You don’t have to detail every role you’ve ever had, but keep it crisp and to the point, with only the ‘value added’ skills that relate to the job spec.

If, however, you have been Made Redundant, are between jobs or simply need to earn some money to pay the bills, you may have to amend your CV to show that you will be willing and able to do other types of temporary work. All too often people complain that they’ve been turned down from a position because they’re ‘over-qualified’ – well, potential employers only know what you tell them, so don’t feel like you need to shout about your MBA if you want to stack shelves to make a bit of cash.

Your Covering Letter

A potential employer will get their first impression of you from your covering letter, so it's vital that you get this right. For advice on writing an impressive covering letter, read our article Job Applications and Covering Letters.

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