Our guest blogger is Nicole Holden one of the team from Flexibility Matters. With flexible working hitting the headlines now Nicole gives you her top tips about how to stand out.
It can be hard coming back to work after maternity leave or a long absence and there’s a lot of women out there who want to work part-time. It’s the answer for many of us in order to get the right work-life balance but I know that competition for the available work is fierce. I’ve found that you need to step up your job hunting tools to stand out, get a dazzling CV,a cracking cover letterand make the right impression once you get to the interview to get the job that’s really right for you.
- Personalised gets picked: Tailor your CV content to individual roles. Take the job requirements and match them to your skills and achievements from your most recent roles.
- Catch the eye:Make sure your CV format fits the position you are going for. If it’s a creative role, for example, then how it looks is important.
- Highlight transferable skills. Especially important if you are making a career change. Highlight in the first page your relevant skills and experience drawn from your entire career history and make the connections explicit, so employers recognise them as transferable to the role.
- Nail it with the opening statement. Think about the recruiter and what they would need to know immediately. A succinct opening statement, tailored to the specific role, could make all the difference, especially when CVs are scanned.
- Keep it short:The maximum length for a CV is 2 pages, so focus onmaking relevant your two most recent roles and pulling out transferable skills from previous roles into an overall competencies section.
- Edit and edit again. Make sure there are no typos in your CV. As well as self-editing, get a friend to check through it too. Nothing screams sloppy worker than a spelling mistake on a CV.
YOUR COVER LETTER
- Do your research:Demonstrate that you are up to date and have done your homework on the company, perhaps citing challenges, impending regulations and recent trends in the sector relevant to the position.
- A dazzling opening paragraph: The perfect opening paragraph should contain who youare and why you are so excited to be applying for the role. It’s your opportunity to impress them with your personality and how much you know about their work.
- Tick-off the must-haves:Follow the introduction byhighlighting what you understand the role to be and how you match the job description must-haves.
- Concise and clear:Keep sentences short. Edit and edit again the next day with fresh eyes. Read it aloud and then get a friend to check it.
- Finish strong:The closing line is your last chance to underline your interest in the company and how you’d be a great fit for the position. It could be a personalised version of:“I’m excited by the opportunity and look forward to speaking to you about how I can contribute”
- Don’t send your CV without one: The cover letter is your chance to write about how committed you are to the role and the company. If its optional in an application or doesn’t ask for one, always provide one anyway.
- First impressions last: Given that employers come to conclusions about a person in the first minute, first impressions are key. Be smart and punctual. Offer a confident hand-shake with lots of eye contact and be genuine.
- Do your homework: Demonstrate that you have fully researched the company’s background, current challenges and recent trends within the sector.
- Know your CV: Your CV will generally structure the process. Knowing it inside out and preparing what your project and competency examples are that match the job spec is fundamental.
- Show your social side: Building a rapport with the interviewer can be as important as matching the skills criteria and will demonstrate that you are pleasant to work with. It’s notjust about smiling. Use your body language to display interest – nod in agreement, maintain eye contact and no slouching.
- Identify your expectations: Knowing what you expect of the role and respectfully seeking the answers to ensure the company is a good fit for you too is important and demonstrates confidence.
- Be ready to ask questions: It’s important to have a few questions in mind to ask at the end of the interview. They can be about the company, the role, or the team. They will demonstrate your assertiveness and enthusiasm in being the right fit.
- A good follow up: It’s a nice touch and not something often remembered to follow up with a thank you email letting them know you are looking forward to hearing from them.