Posted On 10th June 2012

We have recently heard that Spain, Europe’s fourth largest economy, has requested a bail out for its troubled banking sector. It is, nevertheless, likely to be some time before the turmoil besetting the Eurozone will have worked through to the end and the uncertainty that this brings is felt on a day-to-day basis most acutely in our pockets and in the jobs market.

In the jobs market, people who once moved effortlessly between jobs find their applications contending with many hundreds of others. Employers can have their pick of candidates. Volume of applications is no longer a problem. Seeing who meets the criteria for the role is another issue.

Before I say any more, I recognise that putting together a good application is difficult, if the information about the role is unclear or non-existent. Writing a tailored application is hard if you don’t have much to go on, though the argument will only fully hold water if further research does not yield more. Researching the application thoroughly goes hand in hand with tailoring it and scrimping on either is not advised even in a good jobs market. In a poor one, the inevitable result is a missed opportunity.

So what are the details that our sharp-eyed would-be CV tailor should not miss? What are the short cuts that the time-poor home dressmaker can learn from the pro to produce a beautiful bespoke finished product? (And for those of you who don’t know, yes, I have done those very classes).

  • If the role requires a certain qualification and you have it, say so early on in your application. Just because someone once told you to put your qualifications at the end of your CV, don’t leave them there. That’s the sort of information that the employer needs to see and tick off early in their reading and they will be all the more positively disposed towards you if you make their job easy.
  • Write a strong summary at the start of your CV. When there are so many candidates for a role, the employer will be keen to know your motivation. They will want to know why you should get the job and why you want to work particularly for them. They know you need to pay your bills – they want to know why they should be the people to help you do just that.
  • Pick up on the language of the prospective employer. How do they describe things? What terminology are they using? Reflecting another’s use of language is a good way of building empathy with your reader. In short, if there are two terms to describe the same concept, no matter which you prefer, choose the one used by the employer.
  • Illustrate your application with relevant achievements. Never forget that an employer is looking to take someone on for a reason. It won’t be just because they don’t like the look of the empty desk in the corner. What role are you being brought in to fulfil? What issues are you there to solve? For example, if you’re there to cut costs and drive efficiencies, what you have done in that regard will matter rather more than, say, winning an award for leading a creative marketing campaign. It may well be that the thing you’re most proud of in your career might not be the most relevant example.

There really is no rocket science to putting together a tailored application but we know that sometimes it can be hard to pick out the things which matter most when faced with the expanse of your career. That’s where people like us – Richmond Solutions – come in. Helping people with their applications is what we do every day. To maintain my theme, we know that “last half inch” can make all the difference between a non-descript and a great application.

Heidi Nicholson [contact-form-7 id="4" title="Contact Page Form"]