Now, more than ever before, it is crucial to invest significantly in your CV and online profile. Richmond Solutions offer some advice.
Let’s be honest, to most of us, ‘selling ourselves’ on paper is not something that comes naturally. There’s a tough and competitive job market out there, in which those that network and convey their skills most effectively are most likely to be the winners.
That’s why we’ve pulled together some key strategies that, if followed, can position you for success.
There is a lot of advice about how to maximise your job search and secure your dream job, from conflicting advice about the length of your CV, to creative attention-grabbing ideas such as selling yourself on EBay or creating video resumes.
However, these points don’t address what you say, only how you say it. And you need to be focusing on both.
The key, unarguable point is that marketing yourself takes investment. Investment in time, creativity and resources in order to do your homework, get your professional materials right and connect to potential employers through multiple avenues.
These are our top six tips for maximising your potential in your job hunt. By investing in these strategies, you will sharpen your edge over the competition.
• Get online
• Research, research, RESEARCH!
• Market yourself with content
• Personalise and customise
• Get help from experts
Get online: Job vacancies do exist, as companies are hiring again, growing, investing and innovating. But the traditional route from recruiter to potential candidates is changing. LinkedIn being the largest online job recruiting database with over 250m users in 2013 gives you direct access to head hunters, recruiters and hiring managers.
Many people say, “ I just don’t want all my information online”. LinkedIn is a safe social networking site because you do not have to list anything you would not comfortably list on a company website. No need for birthdays, marital status or any other personal information – you are seeking business contacts not friends.
The second resistant voice often simply says “I just can’t be bothered”, to which you might respond, “well then why are you looking for a job at all?” Again, it’s all about investment. Developing a well written and well coded profile does take time. It does take effort. In many instances, it may take getting professional help. But having a powerful LinkedIn profile not only gives those looking to fill positions direct access to you, but it also adds a professional credibility.
Research, research, RESEARCH! The greatest gift you can give yourself is the time to do your homework when it comes to researching the market, opportunities, companies and individuals. Know what companies in your industry (or the industry into which you want to move) are up and coming, and which are on the verge of a downward slope.
Once you have identified a position you are interested in (or have been headhunted for on LinkedIn), research the key players in the organisation. Additionally, use your research to define your objectives. Being clear in your own mind about your ambitions will help you speak with more confidence, better target opportunities and network with impact.
Market yourself with content: Out of all the strategies we discuss today, this is quite possibly the most important because failing to “market” or “sell” your background, experience and skills with the content of your achievements can throw you into fatal traps.
One of these traps is the use of clichéd subjective personality descriptions. Recruiters and hiring managers do not want to know how you perceive yourself; they do not want to know if you are cheerful, positive, people-oriented, generous, kind, well-mannered or innovative. Claiming any of these things is a complete waste of space.
Demonstrating these attributes with evidence (apart from well-mannered and cheerful, those are just ridiculous adjectives to use on a CV), however, is essential. So, rather than claiming to be innovative, highlight a key example of when you innovatively addressed a problem and got a result. Demonstrate how your idea, delivery, strategic leadership or communication impacted the organisation.
You should also avoid the “job description CV”. Your CV should not be a description of all the jobs you have had. It should not be a list of “duties” or “responsibilities” in each role. Your CV should describe what you actually accomplished in each role. It should be about what you delivered, maintained, led, developed or implemented.
Potential employers need to understand the context of your previous roles and responsibilities so that they are persuaded of the value you could add to their business.
Personalise and customise: Your CV and LinkedIn profile are your career marketing materials. You are introducing yourself and starting a conversation. Write your content in a way that engages with the reader so that they are able to perceive you as a person, not a shiny set of skills on a shelf.
Customise your materials to the audience you are targeting. In many ways, your CV and LinkedIn profile are as much about who will be reading them as they are about you. This is particularly true if you are seeking to shift industries, jump into the interim market or move sectors.
Always customise the content of how you present yourself to be attuned to what will best market you to your audience. This brings up the idea of research again - in order to best position yourself within a given talent pool, you need to know what the recruiters/hiring managers are seeking. What kinds of skills, experience and competencies do you need to highlight?
Network: In a saturated job market, one of the best ways to step around the competition is to know people. This sounds a bit old school and cliché; however, it remains true. Simply sitting at home applying for jobs online is unlikely to yield maximum results. Get out there. Go to networking events. Email former colleagues and say “Hey, I am looking for new opportunities doing XYZ, do you know anyone I should talk to and/or can you keep me in mind if you come across anything?” Always keep business cards in your pocket just in case of useful encounters.
Connect with as many people as possible on LinkedIn and join as many groups as possible. Contribute to blogs and online forums. However, do not indulge in “selfish” networking. People can spot someone who is just trying to use them to get something, not to mention it’s just not very nice. Focus your networking strategy on simply getting to know people and offering to help them. The relationships that result are far more likely to be mutually productive if someone senses you are actually interested in them.
Get help from the experts: Like anything else in life, when something is worth doing, it is worth investing in. This investment may indeed be financial. When your pipes are leaking you call a plumber. When you need help with your taxes, you call a tax expert. In this case, the experts can help you to secure your professional future.
There are two main reasons people come to us for help, they are either too busy to invest the necessary time in preparing their materials or their materials have failed to deliver the results they seek. In both cases, we work with clients to turnaround their failing documents and create effective, nuanced and customised pieces.
We have a firm policy to only “sell” our services in cases we believe we can actually add value and we give each customer personalised attention.
But don’t take our word for it, see what others are saying about us here.
Send us your CV and LinkedIn profile URL for a free review, and let us help you sharpen your competitive edge to stand out above the rest.
For more information, see www.richmondsolutions.co.uk.