Let us face it, jobs are rare to find. Those who have good jobs usually work hard to keep them. Of course, there are still people who have good jobs, but they do not do enough to keep their jobs.
For those currently hunting for jobs, this article will make it a bit easier for you to at least be invited to an interview.
I remember two years ago when I sat on a committee that was recruiting a young graduate. Their target was someone with around two to four years of experience in the skills area required. We received some 200 applications. All the 200 candidates had the same degree and mostly from one institution. They all listed in the curriculum vitae (CV) the courses that they had completed in the first year, in the second year and the rest of the years for the programme that they had pursued.
Although we wanted to short-list some five candidates for interviews, it proved very difficult to filter and rank the candidates because they were basically identical in our eyes. And that was neither the first nor last time when I could not find distinctly outstanding candidates from a group of applicants.
Of course, there have also been other moments when I have come across candidates that clearly stood apart from the rest. And this should be your desire – that when you apply for a job, your CV should stand apart. So, how do you do that? How do you make yourself invited to an interview?
First, make sure that you write your application letter in a manner that compels the reader to proceed to reading your CV. Do not assume that all recruiters read all CVs. Sometimes the recruiter can reject an applicant mid way down the application letter, without finishing reading it, let alone touching the CV. Therefore, it is important that your covering letter should be written so persuasively that the recruiter is compelled to read your CV as well.
As you draft your CV, bear in mind your intended goals. The primary goal should be to stand out. You must create the impression that you are the best candidate but this must be done based on facts and without exaggeration. If you include lies, it may easily be discovered and that would not help you in any way, if not acting against you. Instead of just listing the courses you completed, you need to describe your performance, emphasising the highlights of what you excelled at. For example, you can state that you were consistently featuring in top 10 in particular subjects that you are good at. That gives you a much better chance of being short-listed than your classmate who may have always been top three but does not declare in the CV!
Similarly, for the jobs that you have done before, do not just list the official ‘duties and responsibilities.’ Rather, state your key achievements in the role. You may briefly describe what the role involved but dwell more on what you personally achieved, thereby standing apart from those who may have held similar roles but not able to articulate their achievements. For example, you could state how as a marketer, you boosted the company’s sales improving by at least 15 percent every month or how as a technician you were able to resolve double the number of issues compared to average technicians in your department every week.
Do not forget to vividly present your extra-curricular activities. Be it your contribution to your school or college team’s winning of a sports trophy or how with your friends you set up a charity organisation that alleviates problems or the marginalised. More importantly, demonstrate your activities in your professional bodies to show how your peers in the profession work with and respect you.
Finally, under hobbies, do not just list passive activities like travelling, watching soccer. Articulate your hobbies in terms of value adding and how your hobbies make you add meaning to life or add to your professional development. Good luck as you sharpen your CV!