Top tips on tailoring your CV

Ben Hall, Recruitment Adviser in Tax, provides his advice on how to tailor your CV.

CVs that give the best first impression are those that are clearly formatted and easy to read; generally with very defined sections - education, work experience and achievements. Whilst format is highly important to give a good first impression, the content of your CV is what you will ultimately be judged on.

The writing style should be factual rather than descriptive and always link back to what YOU have done rather than your overall team. For example; I have worked with a major Energy client on a recent merger resulting in a cost saving of £x or I was part of a successful team project carrying out.

I would always advise tailoring your CV to each application or at least have a few versions saved. It is generally very obvious if someone has taken the time to consider their application or just ‘clicked apply’!

Top 5 tips to tailor your CV

  • Sector specific experience – if you are applying to a Real Estate role for example, ensure Real Estate projects are most prominent, or, for a generalist role, try to cover off a variety of experience. Should you not have experience in the sector you are applying to, you could indicate an interest either through indirect exposure or an interest outside of work.

  • Relevant achievements – for a role that might have an element of business development, ensure that you include tangible statements such as 'grew client portfolio by x%', or for a management role you could provide team performance figures under your leadership. Whilst general job description style narratives are useful, they are not as hard hitting as quantifiable achievements.

  • List additional skills / interests that will make you stand out – for example languages, networking groups involved in, hobbies etc. Any of these could give you an advantage that isn’t immediately obvious from the advert and worst case, they could be a talking point in an interview!

  • Ensure only relevant and widely used technical jargon is included – it is very easy to write a CV littered with acronyms and technical wordings that you are used to, often these are specific to one business and might cause unnecessary confusion. I wouldn’t advise ‘dumbing down’ your CV for the sake of it but make absolutely certain the language you use will be understood by the business you are applying to.

  • After making an application it is important to strike a balance between being engaged in the process but not overbearing. Bear in mind, the way you conduct yourself throughout your application will be viewed as a reflection on your working style! I would always advise seeking a conversation before making an application where a contact is available, if there no one obvious to speak to, trust the process and wait to be contacted.

If you are able to discuss the process in more detail, try to obtain approximate timescales but ultimately, be comfortable in the recruitment team / hiring manager – if they have news, they will contact you as soon as possible.

Career summary to date

After graduating from Sheffield Hallam University with a degree in Business and Marketing, I spent 2.5 years working on a self-employed basis as a Sales, Marketing and Event Management specialist. I was involved in a wide variety of projects ranging from mobile phone launches to healthy living campaigns. With most of my weekends spent working, I decided the time was right to seek a ‘Monday – Friday’ role and began working in recruitment.

I worked for an Insurance specialist agency for 5 years before taking the opportunity to join EY in September 2015.

Throughout my recruitment career, I have always developed strong relationships with candidates and clients / internal stakeholders and pride myself on working effectively to provide a positive outcome for both parties. I offer honest advice to individuals looking to further their careers at all levels and am always happy to discuss EY’s expanding Tax team.

Whilst the majority of the recruitment team is based in London, I am based in our Birmingham office. EY’s flexible working approach has helped me integrate with the team effectively despite being based in a different location. 

I work across both areas of the EY business (UK&I and FS) which brings its own complexities but it’s great to have exposure to the two areas and to understand how they complement each other in order to provide an exceptional client service.

Outside of work I am a keen runner and enthusiastic golfer; I used to play county standard rugby but a number of injuries put paid to that unfortunately! I have completed the Birmingham half marathon with a PB of 1h39m and am currently training for the Paris marathon which is proving tough in the cold, dark and wet evenings!


Ben Hall
  • Ben Hall