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Adapt your master CV to fit your objectives

Responding to a job ad or submitting a spontaneous application? Give yourself every chance. Adapt your master CV to show what you want, emphasize your skills and give the employer the impression that you are truly targeting their company.


Step 1: Analyze the job ad

Take the time to learn about the company! It will show them that you are a good candidate. Then you can adapt your CV to the ad.

  • Show them the profile they're looking for. Use a highlighter pen to identify key words, such as “advanced Excel skills,” “introduce a management software package,” “understands issues affecting SMEs,” or “tact and diplomacy.”
  • Pay attention to the requirements, particularly the transferable skills.
  • Read the list of job duties. They are placed in order of importance, the most important being at the top.
  • Make sure to properly identify the type of company and its activity sector.

Step 2: Sort, keep and delete

Keep all the parts of your CV that the recruiter is expecting to read: your experience, skills and knowledge. Only keep the parts that are distinctive and relevant. At this stage, sometimes it’s a good idea to re-write or develop these parts, for example, using the employer’s words and phrasing.

Give pride of place to key information, such as your specialization, achievements related to the position, education or important professional experience. How? Put these things in the first half of your CV, or at the top of a list (duties). If needed, put them in bold font to emphasize their importance.

Flag anything that doesn't seem useful. Feel free to delete or summarize it. Don’t distract the recruiter with information that is unrelated to the position requirements.

Please note!

If you have job experience that’s not related to the job at hand, you can mention it, especially if cutting it would create an unexplained period of inactivity. Be as concise as possible. Don't talk about your responsibilities for these positions.


Step 3: Polish your profile

The Profile section can be added sections taken from your master CV. It establishes a link between what you have to offer and what the recruiter is looking for.

  • It is not mandatory and is sometimes ill advised if you are just starting your career.
  • It would be advisable for master’s and specialized graduate diploma students to write a profile highlighting their knowledge and experiences.
  • It is not a summary of your CV. It is a short yet sharp statement highlighting what is most relevant in response to a job offer or a targeted position. Upon reading it, the recruiter either considers you as a candidate or loses interest in your CV. Upon reading it, the recruiter either considers you as a candidate or loses interest in your CV.

Write your profile

Examples of what to include in your profile:

  • Professional experience or accomplishments
  • Professional or technical skills
  • Demonstrated transferable skills
  • Knowledge, interests, titles, strengths or software proficiency

To write a winning profile, use the key words you identified in Step 1 that describe the employer’s expectations. Make sure that these are reflected in your profile.

  • Don’t use the pronoun “I” here or in any other part of your CV.
Profile of an experienced applicant
  • Bilingual financial analyst with six years’ experience working for a Canadian multi-national manufacturing company
  • Substantially contributed to increasing profits via innovative tax and financial strategies.
  • Demonstrated skills in negotiation, project management, analysis and research.
Profile of an applicant seeking a career change
  • Financial skills: business assessment, portfolio management and asset allocation
  • CFA candidate - Levels I and II achieved
  • Four years’ experience in project management
  • Quantitative strengths and demonstrated analytical and planning skills; consistently meets deadlines

Step 4: Re-read or have another person read your CV

If you skip this step, you will likely disqualify yourself by submitting a document that contains typos. These details say something about you and your professionalism!

  • Adjust the formatting as necessary.
  • Proof for typos and language issues, such as spelling, syntax and grammar mistakes.
  • Make sure that the recruiter will understand everything on your CV (e.g. acronyms, foreign words, diplomas and titles of jobs held in other countries).

How to submit your application

Make sure your application arrives safely and in keeping with current standards.

Read on to learn more.

Find out more

Career Management Services offers several individual services and workshops to help you submit a winning application to employers.

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