Planning the next step in your career is an exciting time but can sometimes trigger a few nerves. Searching for a new job is the fun part, it’s starting the application process that can be the most daunting. To some, it can be viewed as quite a challenging task, but it doesn’t have to be, and in fact, it’s easier than you think.
One of the main issues with CV’s is that they are quite often too generic, making it difficult for employers to find that one applicant that stands out. It’s understandable that for an applicant, creating a generic CV and changing a few words would appear to be the easiest option, however, it’s not the right way to go if you’re hoping to secure that next role. According to Indeed, in a month’s worth of applications, the group of people submitting the highest number of applications are 39% less likely to receive a positive response from employers.
Therefore, to help you avoid this situation, we are going to explain the best approach to writing a CV and how using the job description can help make you stand out.
The best way to approach the job description
1. Once you have completed your search and discovered the jobs that spark your interest, bookmark them and print the job descriptions for each role.
2. Next, go through each job description with a highlighter and mark all the key skills, remember, don’t just focus on the desirable skills and experiences sections, look at the whole JD (e.g. teamwork, strong communication, proofreading).
3. Then, when you have finished this process, go back through the job description and think of examples where you have either demonstrated, learned or used each of the skills you have highlighted. For instance, this could be in a job role, activity or education. When coming up with examples, always ensure you use a range from different experiences (not all from your last job).
Define how to implement the highlighted key skills and examples into the CV
1. When you’re happy that you have examples for each skill, you should have a strong structure to create a dedicated CV for each job role demonstrating the skills that match the requirements.
2. Firstly, correlate where in your experience you have used certain skills in the JD (e.g. Previous Job, Sport, Volunteering, University Module).
3. Then, in the section where you describe, for example, your role in your previous job, start by briefly mentioning what your role involved, your responsibilities etc. then expand on this by including a skill(s) and/or example(s) you highlighted for this job in the JD.
4. Continue using this technique, until all the examples/skills you highlighted in the JD are mentioned throughout your CV.
Once complete, you should have created a CV which truly demonstrates to the employer how your skills and experiences fit the job you are applying for. If you find that you’re struggling to find examples of where you have demonstrated the skills in the JD, then maybe reconsider whether the role is for you. Remember, never make up examples, this will only have a negative outcome if you’re asked to expand on examples in an interview.