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How to Tailor Your CV for Management Roles

Whether you have existing experience of management jobs, or you’re looking to get your very first role, you’ll need to tailor your CV to match the unique needs of the position that you’re applying for.

The process can seem a bit daunting, but once you know some of the most practical strategies to use, adapting your CV for management roles becomes a lot easier.

With that in mind, here are 6 simple ways that you can tailor your CV for management roles!

How to Tailor Your CV for Management Roles

1 Hour

1.   Highlight your transferable achievements

When writing a CV, it can be easy to fall into the trap of just listing basic facts about your career to date. We can end up just reeling off the names of schools and employers and the dates we were associated with them, rather than delving deeper into how those experiences contributed to the development of our skills.

Achievements are practical evidence of this. They demonstrate your success as an employee, as well as how well you can use your skills to bring about a positive change. They’re things that you are personally responsible for that have created a positive effect for your organisation. No matter what your skill or experience, you will have at least one achievement in a role that you can point to in a CV.

But how can you highlight management achievements if you don’t have any management experience? The trick is to highlight achievements that demonstrate transferable skills for the role.

There is one thing to bear in mind when it comes to highlighting your achievements, whether they’re in management or otherwise: make sure that they’re measurable.

For example, saying ‘I managed a team’ doesn’t really tell the recruiting manager much about the quality of your skills or even the situation. Saying something like, ‘I managed a team of 10 employees and achieved a 50% increase in sales through targeted coaching.’

2. Pay attention to keywords

Keywords are essentially just specific words or phrases that a recruiter is looking for when trying to find a candidate for a management role. They are used to describe essential skills, experience and bits of knowledge, specific to that role.

For example, keywords in a CV for a bank clerk might include things like ‘customer service skills’ and ‘cash handling’. These are all keywords relevant to being a bank clerk.

Recruiters are strapped for time and energy, so they’ll often scan CVs for specific words that indicate you have the skills and experience they’re after and then take a closer look. If you don’t have the keywords, your CV will probably be disregarded. That’s why including keywords is important.

There’s also another reason why you should pay attention to keywords – recruitment robots.

Applicant Tracking Systems (abbreviated to ATS) are becoming increasingly used by employers to make the recruitment process more efficient on their end. Applicant Tracking Systems are a type of artificial intelligence that can scan a CV for keywords and particular skills. If your CV has the keywords and skills that the employer is looking for, the robot will flag it as a keeper. If it doesn’t, it’ll be binned.

It’s pretty brutal, but the only way you can protect against it is by making sure that you CV contains some of the most important keywords for the management role you’re applying for.

Keywords you could use in a CV geared towards management roles includes words and phrases like:

  • Leadership
  • Team management
  • Budgeting
  • Training
  • Recruiting
  • Decision making
  • Problem solving
  • Coaching
  • Change management
  • Presenting
  • Reporting
  • Operations

3. Read the job description...

Reading the job description of the specific role that you’re applying for when you’re creating your CV is essential. No ifs, no buts. That’s because to stand a chance of standing out from the competition, your CV has to be tailored to the role that you’re applying for.

Of course, you don’t need to create an entirely new CV every time you apply for a new management job. That would be a lot of work. What you do need to do is tweak your CV to every new role that you apply for, making it specific and unique to the job that you’re targeting.

With this in mind, it can help to create a general management CV that you can use as a template. Every time you apply for a new role, you can bring up this template and edit it accordingly to fit the needs of the role you’re applying for.

4.  ..and annotate it!

One of the best ways to edit your CV for any management role is to annotate the job description when you’re reading it. Pick out the keywords that seem to dominate the description and any words that are used to describe the attributes, skills or experience that will be required of you in the role and make a list.

Try to include the keywords from this list in your own CV. You’ll find that trying to include them should make your CV more relevant to the role that you’re applying for.

5. Celebrate your transferable skills

It isn’t too outlandish to state that if you’re coming into management for the first time, it’s likely that you won’t have any direct experience of a management role. That doesn’t matter though. You can easily make up for a lack of direct experience by highlighting your transferable skills instead.

Transferable skills are traits and abilities that you can use in a wide range of roles – not just your current one.  You can often learn them in a variety of different contexts, from other roles in different industries through to voluntary work, hobbies and interests.

Transferable skills can be divided into two different types: hard and soft skills.

Hard skills are the specific, specialist attributes associated with a role (think: how to service a car engine for a mechanic) and soft skills are the more general attributes that basically every job calls for in some way (think: time-management or communication skills).

You can improve your chances of recruitment success by emphasising the right combination of hard and soft skills in your management CV. Relevant transferable skills for management include things like:

  • Leadership skills – being able to manage a team of people to achieve a shared objective
  • Problem-solving – being able to use your initiative to solve problems and issues
  • Interpersonal skills – being able to get on with people from different backgrounds
  • Communication skills – having good oral and written communication
  • Strategic vision – being able to think strategically about a situation

6. Be a ruthless editor

It might not seem like it at the time, when you’re sweating over where to put a comma, but writing is probably the easy part of the process of tailoring a CV to a management role – the editing process is generally much harder.

Although it may be more difficult, editing is essential. It’s a crucial process that allows you to directly tweak the relevancy of your CV to the management roles you’re hunting for. Editing lets you improve the potency of the work that you’ve already created though and improves your chances of hitting the key indicators that the employer’s looking for in a candidate.

Editing is basically just the process of revising what you’ve written so that it presents your ideas in the clearest possible way to whoever will be reading it. Here are some basic editing tips to get you started:

  • Have a look at legendary journalist and novelist George Orwell’s 6 Rules for Writing – they’re useful points to bear in mind when it comes to making your writing clearer and easier to understand.
  • Keep your CV short – conventional wisdom in the recruitment world says that CVs should be no more than three pages (but ideally under two).
  • Consider the function of every single word in a sentence: ask yourself how it’s helping to show the recruiter something. If it doesn’t add to your objective, replace it!
  • If in doubt, cut it out – if you’re uncertain about a passage, take it out and rework it.

Tailoring your CV to management roles takes a bit of effort, but when you get it right you can really improve your chances of success in your application. We hope you’ve found this blog helpful and that you put it to good use in your own job hunt!


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