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Letters after your name might be an on-paper indication of your professional competence, but they’re not the only thing you need to get a potential employer to put your CV in the ‘call to interview’ pile. Beyond a certain level of essentials, your next boss has a checklist of what they need from their next employee.
This doesn’t mean that you should lie on your CV and cover letter; far from it. The fact that the business of new hires has become such a costly one, both financially and in terms of manpower, should mean that you consider whether a company chimes with your mindset as much as your potential employer considers whether you will fit in with theirs.
Things your potential employer will look for: it might seem like a trope, but a demonstrable history of volunteering or similar community-based work will always make you the more attractive candidate to a company with a rigorous corporate social responsibility policy.
Although any company will fully expect to invest in new hires and fill any gaps there might be in their professional qualifications, your potential employer will also be keen to see candidates who take care of their own employability. And that doesn’t just mean making sure you’ve taken the right exams or read the right books – consider renewing and reviewing industry knowledge as diligently as you would approach acquiring it in the first place. A company undergoes an audit every year; treating your professional qualifications the same way is no bad thing.
Things your potential employer will look for: make sure your industry qualifications are up to date, especially if things have moved on since you sat your exams.
It’s not always possible to know who will or will not be a good fit with a company until they’re in position. It doesn’t matter how well they impress at interview, or how good they look on paper, that perfect hire might just not work.
Although there’s nothing you can do to turn that around, you can present yourself as the candidate who will make the difficult calls quickly and decisively. Although it’s inconvenient for your new (and soon to be ex) employer, your quick decision will save them both time and money as they are likely to have a pool of potential hires from the recent recruitment campaign that found you. For industries where the talent pool is relatively small, this can make all the difference between leaving a job with your good reputation intact and finding it very hard to even get an interview anywhere else.
In short, come across as decisive, honest, and yes, the right kind of ruthless. Then just show up, and shine.