Yesterday afternoon I was helping my buddy Rick go through some CVs.
The first bit was easy, ones that had clearly not been proof-read were immediately discarded - when you're applying for a job, check it again, and again, and again... and again, to make sure that it actually makes sense.
Better still, ask somebody else, who actually knows something about jobs, writing and work, for their opinion too. Ask them to be honest, and constructive.
But back to the CVs we had... The biggest mistake I saw was that they were too focussed on bigging themselves up. Now don't get me wrong, your CV is the place to talk about your skills and achievements, but it shouldn't read like an X Factor candidate begging to get through to the next stage.
There was ONE key thing lacking from nearly all of them.
They didn't give us what we were looking for
Most people didn't realise we had a problem we were trying to solve. If they had only looked at this from OUR point of view, rather than their own, they'd have been more likely to write the kind of things we were looking for.
Let me give you a different example:
When you are looking to buy a product and are on a company's website, what exactly are you looking for?
- Are you looking to find out how many years experience they have?
- Do you need to know what Terry from Brighton thinks about them?
- Want to learn more about their premium upgrades?
Well, I might care about what Terry from Brighton thinks, but the other two are going to have much less impact on whether I choose to buy from them or not.
What I believe you're really looking for is that the company understands that you are there because you have a problem. You are there because you are looking for a SOLUTION.
The ones who really do understand this will be focussed on your demonstrating that they can provide this solution for you. Terry will also vouch for them, but his words alone mean little if the rest of the information is redundant.
On my website, I talk about helping my clients to 'Stand out, get noticed and be remembered'.
It doesn't matter anywhere near as much that I've been doing this professionally for well over a decade or that I've had logos published in a few design books. What my prospective customers are looking for is evidence that I can help THEIR brand get more attention. It's as simple as that.
I just try to show my customers that I get this. I get why they need my help.
Smart businesses know this... And so do smart candidates.
We did get one CV through that was a little bit special - The applicant TOTALLY got this idea. He knew that Rick wasn't looking for a new colleague, but for somebody to solve problems within the business. This is the guy who got us talking the most - this is the guy we REMEMBERED - because he spoke in terms of problems he would solve and responsibilities he could take. It was one of the best CVs I've seen, to be fair.
Tomorrow on my newsletter I'm going to be talking about how you can frame your message in a way that is going to truly strike a chord with your audience.
It will help you to understand how you can get the kind of reaction from your audience that the CV I mentioned above had on us.
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