Your cover letter is a very important part of the application process; it is what initially grabs the interest of any recruitment consultant or hiring manager. But it is equally vital that your CV really sells you and your abilities.
The average recruiter will see thousands of CV’s during their career and there are always some common mistakes that candidates make. There are also some absolutely brilliant examples of people that have done exactly what is required – convinced employers to bring them in for an interview.
Here are some key tips:
TAILOR IT As with the covering letter, adapt your CV accordingly. It can be a simple case of adding in key skills that would be more relevant. It can be time-consuming to tailor your CV a number of times, but weigh that up against the prospect of getting the job you want, it should be an easy decision.
A WINNING SUMMARY First impressions count – have a summary which is succinct and states your experience, abilities and goals. I certainly wouldn’t be disappointed to see a candidate’s future objectives stated in their summary – it tells me that they are driven and know what they want.
AVOID CLICHES There are certain words and phrases which always seem to come up on CVs and the more employers see them, the less value they have. Things like “Results driven” – no-one strives to achieve nothing so an alternative could be “motivated by targets and results” or “Good team player but can work independently too”, instead put “I thrive around other like-minded and motivating characters, but nothing beats knuckling down to some alone time to get a job done.” The whole point is for you to stand out from other candidates so try to avoid the cliches. Be creative with the way you describe yourself. Results driven” No self-respecting employee strives to achieve nothing. Explaining the results you’ve achieved in the past is essential when making this point, otherwise leave it out entirely. Alternative: “motivated by targets and results / acumen to achieve” – followed by past experiences.
QUANTIFY YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS Employers want to know about your achievements. Tell them how you have added value previously. It could be financial – you may have generated a certain amount of revenue – in which case how much? It may be that you were in charge of managing a whole team – tell me how many?
AND FINALLY… Consider how you deliver your CV. If you are speculatively sending your CV to a company where there is no vacancy consider hand delivering it! This may give your application a far better chance of being seen by the right person. Over a decade ago, somebody who emailed a CV would have grabbed the attention of a hiring manager. Now, it is very much the other way around!