You won’t get the job if you don’t do this

Sep 9, 2010 by

How to take yourself out of the job race in one easy step…

Sending generic CVs to employers is a sure-fire way to remove any hope of getting into the winner’s enclosure, yet many people I meet make the mistake of doing so.  It’s a hard truth perhaps, but no CV is so good that you don’t need to change it each time you apply for a job.  I confess, I too once made the mistake of thinking otherwise.  I was so confident that my CV was great and told a potential employer everything they needed to know, I never used to alter it.  What a naive fool I was….

Getting a job – or even interview time – is a marathon slog these days.  Remember: The purpose of your CV is to get an interview.  To ensure your CV gets you an interview, you have got to do everything you possibly can to stand out against the thousands of other people gunning for the same job.  Doing so becomes easier if you take the effort to personalise and tailor your CV to each and every role you apply for.

Have you done sufficient preparation?

At this stage, you should have acquired all the information required to write your CV:  about yourself, your skills and competencies, the employer and the job you are applying for.  And that’s not just any old job mind, but one that matches your FIT profile and one which you honestly believe matches your skills, experience and personal characteristics. Then what?

How to cut your cloth to suit in 4 easy steps.

Step 1: Identify the specific challenges of the job.

You may well have a great sales record. But what is the client looking for? Is it a large established company looking to increase sales with existing customers and add a few new ones? Is it a start-up business needing to grow sales from scratch in a new market? Is it a business looking to enter a new market sector and develop new clients whilst maintaining a strong base of existing clients?  Here we have three businesses each facing significantly different challenges.  Be sure you do your homework and find out which ones you’ll be facing… 

The clues will be in the job advert, the job description, the company website or even the company reports. Do your research thoroughly, call the recruiter if there is one or the company directly if you know who they are.  Remember, there’s never any harm in asking for information.  No recruiter will frown on you for taking the effort to call in and establish the key challenges of the role.

Step 2: Then look at your EACH Matrix

Once you’ve established the key challenges of the role, revisit your EACH matrix.  You may have covered some key challenges in your EACH matrix already.  Do the exercise again for any that you haven’t. This is a great way of building up a thorough and comprehensive dataset which allows you to easily and honestly pick the experiences, skills and competencies that are applicable to any particular role.

Step 3: Setting down your personal profile.

What is there about you that makes you perfect for this role? Does your profile reflect that as well as it might? Is self-motivation and drive absolutely essential to success in this role? If it is, have you mentioned the marathon you ran or the mountain you climbed or whatever feat of extreme focus and commitment that you may have achieved? Having identified the key challenges of the role, you should include only those things that reflect your ability to meet them.

Step 4: Setting down your skills, experiences and competencies.

CV space is limited. Don’t clutter the reader’s eye by listing experience and skills which, great though they may be, would not be useful in the role the employer has to offer. Match the challenges identified in Step 1 with relevant skills and experience listed in your EACH matrix. 

For example:

‘Can generate a mix of new business and grow existing accounts’ on the job description could be matched up with:

‘As Business Development Manager at John Smith and Co, I won $4.75m of new business over 3 years, growing market share from 9 to 21% in my region and when I was Key Accounts Manager at The Widget Company Ltd, I was responsible for 6 key accounts, growing all of them by between 6 and 75% a year, averaging 12% growth in sales revenue and 15% growth in margin.’

‘Must have outstanding negotiation skills’ on the job description might be directly referred to by a bullet-point stating:

‘Negotiated numerous multi-million dollar deals with a variety of blue-chip customers, for example, a $7.5m sale of beverage canning plant to Coca-Cola.’

Repeat Steps 1-4 for every job you do.

As I hope you can see, specific examples that relate to each specific requirement and challenge of a role can have tremendous power and be very compelling for the reader. I see thousands of CVs. Not many contain the kind of detail expressed above, tailored to the specific requirements of the role I’m seeking to fill. It really does make a difference if you’ve cut your cloth to suit.

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