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How to Stand Out from the Crowd

Times like these, where there’s a highly competitive market for the available jobs, making sure you stand out is key. So, buckle up and get ready to unlock your full potential! In this post, we'll share powerful yet often overlooked tips that will help you shine in the eyes of potential employers. It's all about mastering the basics and showcasing your unique strengths.

Three Simple Rules

If you take anything away from this page, let it be these three simple guidelines. They are basic, but they're the ones so many people struggle to master. If you can do the following effectively, you'll be ahead of much of your competition... 

 

Show Don't Tell

Actions speak louder than words. Instead of simply listing skills like "time management" or "communication," paint a picture with specific examples. Did you manage a complex project under tight deadlines? Describe the situation and the strategies you used. Did you resolve a challenging communication issue with a client? Share the situation and how your clear communication skills saved the day.

Less is More

While highlighting your diverse skills is great, remember your CV is a targeted document. Focus on the skills and experiences most relevant to the specific role you're applying for. We'll delve deeper into tailoring your CV later, but for now, think about what makes YOU a perfect fit for this specific position. You can hint at what extras you can bring to the role, but let these not distract from the important details. 

Make It Easy

Content is king, but presentation matters too! A clean, easy-to-read format will make your CV a joy for recruiters to navigate. Many platforms like Canva and Google Docs offer free, user-friendly CV templates to help you achieve a professional and polished look.

Take the following example:

This may not be the slickest CV around, but we consider this to be a good CV because it has done the main things right...

  • Personal statement is clear and direct
    Nelson doesn't waste words. He immediately grabs the reader's attention by stating his career goals. It's clear Nelson has researched the position he's going for. His skills and experience directly address the specific needs listed in the job description.

  • All the important topics are covered
    Nelson covers all the essential elements: contact information, a compelling personal statement, relevant skills, detailed work experience, educational background, and well-rounded interests. All these sections should be covered in a CV, regardless of industry you are going for!
     

  • The information is specific
    Notice how Nelson doesn't just list "problem-solving." He provides a concrete example of how he effectively communicated complex information to a client. This is "showing, not telling" in action!

  • There are no spelling or grammar errors
    A typo-free CV demonstrates professionalism and attention to detail. 

But we're only just getting started...

You've got a stellar CV that's clear, direct, and easy to read.

 

Done? Not quite yet.

 

If you want to stand out from the crowd, you're going to need to tailor your CV for each application you make. 

This may seem like a lot of work, but trust us, employers notice when a candidate has taken the time to consider what the role requires and how they are the right person for the job. In a competitive job market, a one-size-fits-all approach simply won't cut it. Tailoring your CV and cover letter for each application demonstrates your genuine interest in the specific role and company.

 

Remember, quality over quantity! Sending out a few targeted applications is far more effective than blasting out generic versions of your CV.

The simple steps to tailoring your CV we recommend are...

1. Find the right listing

The three questions you should ask yourself when you think you've found a good job opportunity are...
 

  • Is this a good match for my skills and experience?

  • Is this a company I am interested in?

  • Is this a job I am interested in?

If the answer is 'no' to any of the above, not only will you not enjoy the job, but you will also have a difficult time convincing the employer you are the right person for the role. Remember, a job doesn't have to be your 'dream job' to be right for you - maybe it's a stepping stone to where you're trying to go, maybe it suits what you're looking for currently, but if you cannot find a way to answer 'yes' to the three points above, you're going to really struggle with the next step. 

2. Highlight all the key points

The listing is like a 'cheat sheet' of what an employer are looking for in a CV and Cover Letter. Copy and paste the text of the listing into a document and highlight all the details mentioned that the employer are looking for in a candidate. You could also note by hand these points, but make sure you're being thorough 

3. Note what you can say

There are many ways to do this step, but one easy way is to make a table with each point highlighted in a seperate row. The next collumn along is where you can note what from your CV or past experience can you emphasise for the employer. The last column is where you can check off when you have made the changes to your CV. Remember, you don't have to always be able to answer 'yes' to all points you see, but you want to be able to demonstrate value for most. 

4. Do a final check

Now you've got the content sorted, you don't want to let formatting slip you up! Make sure your CV is easy to read. Do a double check that all the details are correct for the job in question, and there are no spelling, grammar or formatting errors. 

Let's go through the process together...

We've taken Nelson's CV from earlier and found a job he could go for. Take a look at the slides below to see how he could edit his original CV towards a particular application.

Find the
right listing

Highlight the key points

Nelson has found a job opportunity that matches his skills and experience, for a company he would be interested in working for.

He's highlighted all the points that should be mentioned in his CV to demonstrate he's the right guy for the job.

Note what you can say

Moving all the highlighted points into a table gives Nelson space to note what he can focus on to make it clear he's the right guy for the job.

Do a final check

After tailoring his CV, can can do a final check to ensure his spelling, grammar, and formatting is still on point.

By following these simple tips, you'll be well on your way to crafting a compelling application and making a lasting impression on potential employers. Remember, standing out is about showcasing your strengths and demonstrating your genuine interest in the opportunity. Good luck with your job search!

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