How does your CV look? Polished and good to go? The one common mistake that candidates make is to have a one size fits all document that they scattergun for every position they like the look of. Okay, your CV is a history of your work experience, so the bare bones will always stay the same. However, when everyone fits the bill for a job, not everyone will get an interview.
If you want to get your foot in the door and get ahead of the competition, you will need to edit your history to fit what the company is looking for. That doesn’t mean you tell lies on your CV – far from it. What it does mean is that you use the language the client uses, and tailor your experience to reflect the nature of the position you’re applying for.
If you’re out of work and keen not to have a huge gap on your CV, it can be tempting to apply for anything and everything. It’s a competitive job market out there, and rather than just throwing your CV around and hoping for the best you’re far more likely to be successful (and more quickly) if you target the jobs that you’re a perfect fit for. Additionally, if your scattergun approach somehow miraculously gets you an interview which you then tank because you haven’t done your research properly, you’ll find out just what long memories HR departments can have. In other words, good luck getting another interview with that company in the future, let alone a position.
Find the keywords in the job advertisement, and make sure they appear where appropriate on your CV. The more you can tailor your CV to the position, the better. It can be helpful to try to put yourself in the position of the interviewer and ask yourself what you would want to see on paper when looking for candidates to meet. If the language of your CV matches the language of the job description, then you stand a far better chance of being seen.
Don’t be tempted to invent skills or qualifications just to make yourself look like the perfect hire; your recruiter or new employer will find you out, whether by accident or design.
It’s never a great idea to oversell yourself, the facts contained within your CV should be all you need. Recruiters will rarely read cover letters, but if you do send one make it very succinct, 3 to 4 lines maximum.
Job hunting is tricky, but you can give yourself a leg up by doing some preparatory legwork. Look for jobs where you fit most of the criteria, and tailor your approaches accordingly – if you make sure you’re not a one size fits all candidate, you’ll be the candidate that stands out.