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Using your CV to complete an application form

If you have a CV, you will want to use it to help to complete your application form, especially when it comes to completing information like dates of employment. However, if you don’t do this carefully and just “cut and paste” information you may be harming your chances of success.

The key word is tailoring. Make sure you use the right information but tailor it to the role you are applying for. Make explicit links between what the job calls for (using the advert and job description) and what you can bring to the table. Think carefully about what the recruiter will be looking for, and ensure you highlight your skills, abilities, and experience, giving practical examples where possible.

So, if the job calls for “Intermediate knowledge of MS Excel” and you gained this experience in a previous role, make this clear. You could write for instance:

“As Trainee Accountant I was responsible for managing the purchase ledger, which required use of a complex spreadsheet. I gained intermediate level knowledge of Excel, including proficiency in use of pivot tables and graphs.”

i.e., bring it to the recruiter’s attention - don’t assume that your experience as a Trainee Accountant will tell us that you have this knowledge. Do this for all essential requirements for the job i.e., the shortlisting criteria in the advert.

Try to pick strong examples that demonstrate your ability in more than one area. For example, if you started a project to do XYZ, you could draw on this to illustrate your ability to show initiative, to lead and manage, to be a team worker, to plan and organise, to coordinate resources, to give attention to detail etc.

NHS Jobs has some further tips to consider in making a successful application.