“And of course you must also tell them why you want the job…”
Someone, perhaps a graduate careers advisor, or maybe a careers coach, or even some other “authority” in this field, will have said this, I’ll wager, to everyone reading this blog at some point of their career.
Very few of these people, I’m more or less certain, will have explained exactly what they mean by this. How can I be so certain?
So many applications seem to forget that the employer is part of the equation. Faced by saying why they want the job, most people tend to talk about how the job they’re applying for offers them marvellous opportunities for career development; represents the next natural step in their career; offers them a relocation opportunity that they’ve been looking for; or something similar which focuses on the advantages for them.
Stop. Please stop.
Do you think that the prospective employer really cares about this? Perhaps they will on some human level. However, when it comes to deciding whether you are the right person for the job, it is unlikely to be a material factor.
Instead, next time you’re putting your CV and covering letter together, turn the question on its head and ask, “What’s in it for the employer?” What are the skills and experiences that you would bring to this employer – which you are of course keen to develop – that would actually make a positive difference to them? Work out what gap you have been asked to fill or what problem you are required to solve and show them that you are the most ready, willing and able to do the job. Make this shine through your CV and covering letter and you’re much more likely to catch the eye of a nervous hiring manager who is keen simply to know they’re seeing the best for the job at the interview. By showing you understand the role and organisation, you’ll give them far more confidence that you’re motivated and the right person for them.
Your job – our job as professional CV writers – is to show you at your best but not only for your own sake: to demonstrate that you have what your next employer wants and to give them confidence in you.
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