In most cases, people register their interest in jobs via a paper or online application form. When you’re competing against a pile of other papers, how are you supposed to stand out? If you’re not able to rely on your personality, passion, and charm to win employers over because you’re getting rejected at the first hurdle, it may be time to work on your CV and the way you put cover letters and responses to questions together. If you’re desperate to get to that all-important interview stage, you’ve come to the right place!
Working on your CV
If you don’t have a chance to impress in person, your CV should be your trump card. This seemingly innocuous piece of paper or Word document stands between you and the chance to get that dream job, so it has to do the business. Focus on using your CV to demonstrate and showcase your skills and think of it as a pitch. Imagine you’re on Dragon’s Den or the Apprentice and think about how you’re going to use words to convince the person reading them that you are the best candidate. Keep things brief and concise, and highlight your strengths. Consider how you can use your CV to make you stand out. Have you invested time in developing your skills thanks to courses from providers like Training Connection? Do you speak different languages or have you worked abroad? Do you volunteer or have you travelled the world? Have you got additional qualifications that aren’t mentioned on the job description or have you completed placements or gained experience in environments, which could further your cause? Put yourself in an employer’s shoes and see if you’d be impressed by what’s in front of you.
Crafting a cover letter
Many organisations ask for a cover letter. Your letter should be punchy and to the point. Don’t ramble or repeat yourself. Explain who you are, why you’re applying and what you feel you could bring to the role. Tailor the letter to the type of position and the company to which you’re applying. If the job is creative by nature, you can be a little more imaginative and original with your letter, but if not, it’s best to stick to a traditional, more formal template.
If you’ve been asked to respond to questions as part of the application process, plan your answer first. Look at the word count, break down the question into parts and answer each bit, backing up your statements with examples and case studies. You could link to a portfolio of your work, for example. Make sure your responses are clear, relevant and well thought out. Don’t waffle to fill the space or go over the same subject time and time again. Create a logical answer that responds to every element of the question and showcases you in your best light. Before you hit the send button, always check your spelling and grammar.
Do you keep getting rejections without even having an interview? If you’re stumbling at the first hurdle, don’t lose hope. You may simply need to tweak the way you present your CV and find new ways of expressing yourself and showing off your skills on paper. Hopefully, this guide will come in handy, and you’ll be celebrating finding a new job in no time.