Targeting your application to the job vacancy can increase your chances of landing yourself an interview - so make sure your initial approach follows a few key rules

The right CV can make a huge difference to your chances of getting a job - or at least an interview. But how do you make your details stand out? Is it even wise to? Especially given that employers, especially larger companies, are tending to make more use of standardised application forms, online or hard copy, to make their decisions.

Targeting your CV to the job you're applying for is the most effective method, according to Andrew Little, sales director of Electus Recruitment Solutions, which recruits engineers for several sectors, including aviation.

This does not have to be an arduous process. It can be as simple as identifying three to six bullet points that make you especially suitable for the job in hand and placing them at the top of the document.

His other tips include:

* Hobbies and interests: "Some people send a page, but I don't think it's that important initially. The employer can look at personality and cultural fit at the interview."

* Qualifications: "It's not worth putting GCSEs down if you've done a PhD or MBA. However, if you have skills from training courses and they relate to the job, it's worth mentioning, even if you've never used them."

* Length: "Two pages are about right. If the company is getting multiple applications, they will want to be able to scan it instantly."

* Format: "Keep it simple. Design engineers particularly often submit something very pretty, but useless as a functional document. If it's a pain to get the data off the CV and onto the system, and they're not 110% suited to the job, you are less likely to get put forward."

Many employers are now dispensing with the CV and only accepting submissions via application forms, often online. Airbus, for example, relies solely on an online form as an initial application, dispensing with both CV and covering letter. From a jobseeker's point of view, this can be frustrating, as it can be unclear in which section information should go and what exactly the employer wants.

"We know we need to work on fine-tuning the form and making sure the detail in there is clear," says Nigel Jones, head of recruitment centre, Airbus UK. "But in general, if you're not sure, ask. It shows you have a real desire to come and work here and are not prepared to just put anything down.

"People don't always take the opportunities given to them on the form to tell us relevant information, perhaps because they're hoping the CV will do it for them. They give one-line answers where they could give a lot more detail."

He is adamant that there is no way around forms. "If you are asked to fill in an application form, fill it in. We have had people entering minimal information on the form and then attaching a CV. Application forms are becoming more and more important to us."

Source: Flight International