Most job adverts request you send your application form, or CV and covering letter, to a designated contact who’ll be receiving scores of others. All you have to go on is the job description and person specification, while all they have to go on is the written word, which may not even make it to the printer. So how do you make yourself stand out from the piles of other applicants’ CVs? What’s the best way to give potential employers an idea of who you are and why you’re so perfect for the job?
Just because ‘email your CV’ is specified as the preferred contact method doesn’t mean it’s your only entry point. And in situations where you’ve heard about an opening on the grapevine, or while networking, something as generic as a CV definitely isn’t the right way to continue initial communications. It’s time to think outside the box. Who really needs to know about you and what’s the best way of resonating with them? What are the requirements of the job and how can you use the application process to reflect your understanding of it and the organisation?
Lacking personality – CVs should be factual and to the point. As such, your winning people skills and personable nature will probably end up getting lost in translation, while your presentation skills won’t even get a look in. Consider picking up the phone instead, or even heading over to the offices to meet your contact face-to-face – it’s amazing what you can achieve and how much further you can go by investing in human contact and conversation, as there’s nothing like building rapport to help you get your foot in the door. Plus, it shows your dedication to the job before you’ve even got it, as you’ll prove you’re willing to seize the initiative and go the extra mile.
Imagination required – Good exam grades, transferable skills, and relevant knowledge and experience are all important in getting a new job, but how can you demonstrate your specialist expertise in an impactful way that sets you apart from the crowd? In the 21st century it’s all about video, so why not tap into the opportunities presented by modern technology and take a different approach to the application process? Keep your video-CV short and concise – 90 seconds maximum – and be sure to watch it back before sending, to ensure you come across well. Dress smartly, look directly down the web-cam and ensure you’re well-lit, with a neutral backdrop behind you. Sending in your own video-CV will help you achieve the personal contact mentioned above, while also demonstrating your ability to think creatively and independently, rather than simply follow the crowd.
A picture’s worth a thousand words – Ever seen an infographic that’s helped you understand a complex news, science or technology story, or drawn a picture to explain to your children how something works? Educational support guides, workplace reports and various other printed media such as newspapers and magazines are peppered with such explanatory resources, so why not incorporate this methodology into a presentation to replace your CV? Ascertain what your potential employer needs to know in order to call you for interview, then present them with the facts in a way no one else will have thought of. As well as emailing it through, you could also consider printing and posting (or hand delivering) to ensure it lands directly on the desk of your target contact.