There are so many things that you need to do these days in order to stand out from the large number of applicants applying for the same job as you.
Research your industry
Firstly, be clear on the type of role you are looking for. Look up similar jobs online and read all job descriptions and requirements (even for jobs abroad) just to give you an idea of skills, abilities and experience currently required in your field. You’ll identify a common theme running through the ads and will be able to tailor your CV accordingly. If a specific computer system is repeatedly mentioned, then perhaps you can start learning that package and add it to your CV. Even though you may not have the experience required, by adding the predicted start date, it shows a willingness to learn relevant software and a genuine interest in the role.
Update and tailor your CV
Now you have a good understanding of what is required in your industry, you can tailor your CV. Focus first on your professional summary and incorporate requirements from many different job descriptions not just the one you’re applying for. If you an engineer, you will be expected to have a logical approach, exceptional problem solving skills and the ability to work well under pressure. If you are a marketing professional, you may need to be creative, passionate about brands and driven to increase ROI. For managers, it is important to highlight your communication and interpersonal skills, organisational abilities and leadership qualities. These skills can be backed up throughout your CV in the Career History and Achievements sections. Don’t waste this precious space by using words, such as ‘reliable’, ‘hardworking’, ‘enthusiastic’, ‘honest’ etc. Employers will take these characteristics as given and they are difficult to prove.
Include a well-written cover letter
Write a tailored cover letter but make sure you don’t repeat what you’ve already written in your CV. Research the company and explain why you are interested in working for them, add all relevant experience and qualifications and cover each requirement. If you don’t have all the required skills and experience, just focus on what you do have and remain positive throughout the letter. If you are applying for a job in a different city or country, be sure to mention the fact that you are willing to relocate, or better still, have relatives or friends living there.
If you have great written references, there is no harm in adding those as a separate attachment in your application along with your CV and cover letter. If you don’t have written references, there is no need to add ‘References available on request’ at the bottom of your CV, just have contact details of referees to hand when they are requested.
Maintain your LinkedIn profile
Ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and is relevant to the roles you are looking for. Add skills required in the job descriptions to your skills list (as long as you have those skills) and follow influencers, groups and companies relevant to your industry. Ensure you have included the ‘Advice for contacting name’ section and add an email address or phone number. Ask your referees to add recommendations directly in to your LinkedIn profile.
Polish up your social media sites
Check your posts on Facebook are spelt correctly and do not contain swear words or derogatory comments. Remove (or only allow friends to see) photos which don’t show you in the best light and anything which might raise alarm bells for potential employers. Do the same for all other social media sites.
Member since: 22nd May 2013
I am currently director of Red Recruitment Solutions and owner of Red CV Writing, a professional CV writing service which also offers LinkedIn profile writing. For more information, please visit www.redcvwriting.co.uk