The current jobs market is incredibly competitive. Companies may receive hundreds of applications for each vacancies they advertise and spend little time reading each CV. To make sure yours warrants a closer look, you must stand out as an obvious match to the vacancy requirements.
Whilst showing a match between your work history or relevant skills can often be an easier approach, here we look at how to make your qualifications fit the job.
By using your training and certifications to highlight the qualities required, you’ll be a better match for the position and more likely to be invited to interview.
1. Find out what they’re looking for
Start by decoding the job advert. A good vacancy posting, or job description, will contain lots of information about what your new employer is looking for. It’s usually broken down into several sections, describing the company, duties of the job and the desired qualifications or experience.
Many job advertisements also include details about the company’s brand or social values. Alongside this, they often describe the personal traits or characteristics they see as important in the successful applicant. If there is plenty of information provided, make sure you’ve taken the time to read it thoroughly.
Even the general description about the purpose of the role or career development opportunities may provide extra insights. This could give your application the edge and make your qualifications fit the job.
2. Do some research or ask for more information
Some job advertisements can be a little brief or lack the specific details about the employer’s expectations. Try visiting their website to see if there’s a longer description of the role, or contact the HR team to request the full job description.
Another idea is to search Google for similar job descriptions or use job-boards, like CV-Library, to look for vacancy listings with the same job title. This will give you a better understanding of what employers are asking of candidates for relating opportunities.
3. Make a list of their requirements
Once you’re familiar with the employer’s requirements, you can decide whether you are a good match and should apply. Make a list of the expected qualifications from the ideal candidate and try to find connections between what you have to offer.
Use the keywords from the advertisement that describe the qualities required to talk about your own abilities and transferable skills.
Even if your qualifications are not essential to the job, you can make assumptions from the duties about what certification could be relevant.
Equally, you can draw out the knowledge and understanding gained from your studies or training courses to demonstrate transferable skill-sets.
4. Showcase your matching skill sets
Wherever possible, try to pull out examples of the skills you have gained from your qualifications and how these have been (or could be) put to use for the job.
For example, a bookkeeping qualification may show that you are methodical, with keen attention to detail and confident in using spreadsheets.
Make sure you’ve reviewed all the requirements on your list and have taken every opportunity to prove your capability in that area.
Include any positive outcomes or successes that resulted from your qualifications. For example, if you have did a Creative Writing course and your story or blog is online.
5. Prioritise your content and choose the right layout
Choose the qualifications or training that are most important and include these in a prominent position on your CV.
Try to mirror the keywords used in the job advertisement in the description of your transferable skills and use your opening paragraph or cover letter to say exactly why you’re the ideal candidate for the job.
Make sure that your best features have the biggest impact by using bold text in the right places. Try to draw the reader’s attention to what matters most, rather than using too many styles competing for view.
A subheading can be a good way to separate your content into read-able chunks and short sentences or bullet points are easier to digest.
6. Review, take advice and make changes
Finally, before you press send, make sure you do a final check. Look out for out any spelling mistakes or errors that could send your CV to the ‘no’ pile.
Ask your friends, family or teacher to look at what you’ve wrote and ask for their honest feedback. Remember that everyone reads and interprets information differently and they could have some last-minute tips to offer.
Also, don’t be afraid to make changes to your CV on a regular basis. It’s important to tailor it for different jobs.
Ready to make your qualifications fit the job?
Remember, you’ll stand a better chance of securing an interview if the employer can easily see that your qualifications fit the job spec. Take on board the advice outlined above and you’ll be able to write a winning CV in no time.
About the author: Caroline Patten is one of the Founders and Directors for Grassroots Recruitment. Caroline is a passionate advocate of ethical recruitment, championing a more responsible approach to hiring best practice and driving industry standards.