After applying the techniques in part 1 of this blog, you’ll have a clear idea of your own skills and competencies. So let’s now focus on how to match your content to what the potential employer needs and wants.
Start by going through the job advert and the job description carefully. Highlight all the key words that describe the position. Then try to match them in your cover letter and CV.
Reflecting the employer’s words back to them shows that you’ve paid attention to what they want. And it will probably help you make the cut if they’re using a recruiter (or an automated system) to analyse applicants’ responses. Either way, whoever is analysing the applications will be looking for certain key words.
To stand out in a big batch of applications, you need to go further than other people are likely to. Look beyond what the advert or the job description says to what else may be going on for the employer.
The more you can show that you understand what they need and want in their new appointee, the more attractive you’ll seem to a potential employer.
Extra homework pays off. Do some research. Look at their website and go beyond the home page. Read articles or media releases the company has put out. Find their annual report and read the statement from the Chair or Director (it’s usually at the start of the report).
These sources of information will give you a good idea about the organisation or company: what it’s proud of and where it’s aiming to go.
Once you’ve gathered more information, use your empathy skills.
If you were the one looking for someone to fill this role, what would you be hoping for? What kind of person would fit with this organisation? What qualities would you want, beyond those listed in the job description?
Go back to those soft skills we talked about in part 1. How can you demonstrate those?
The biggest challenge in a CV is to convince the reader that it’s all about them. It’s not just you saying how wonderful you are. Everything you can offer is to help them with what they need.
Look at the difference between these two statements.
Now look at this statement.
Excellent communication skills (oral and written) combine with demonstrated analytical and strategic strengths in order to create best-in-class productivity.
It’s written in a tone that sounds distant and unnatural. And as for ‘best-in-class productivity’… what does it mean? It’s jargon — and you need to avoid jargon in your CV.
Let’s rewrite that statement a little.
I’m good at communicating with people, both in writing and in person. I can use my skills in analysis and strategy to boost productivity and make your workplace more effective.
What feels different? For one thing, the rewritten statement has human beings in it — ‘I’ and ‘you’. The language is easier to understand and feels less like jargon.
Now add the parts together.
You’ve done your groundwork, and now you’re ready to produce a convincing CV. To summarise, doing these two things before you start writing your CV will prepare you so that the task is much less of a challenge.
When you’ve done that work, you’re more than halfway towards creating a CV that will get you to the interview.