The number of job vacancies in Britain has plunged by almost half a million since January (to 295,000 in June), hitting the lowest levels since comparable records began in 2001. As competition among job seekers becomes increasingly intense, businesses are receiving hundreds of CVs for the relatively few openings they have on offer. So, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. Here’s how:
- You need to have a great CV and tailor it to the job you’re after. Over 90% of companies use software to screen CVs and 75% of CVs are rejected because they don’t have certain key words the software is programmed to identify. If you’re applying for a finance role which requires skills including knowledge of specific IT software like QuickBooks or Sage or the practice of “superforecasting”, make sure you use these words (and your competency in them) in your profile and in the main body of your CV. If you include abbreviations like having an MBA, or that you’re a CFA the machine won’t necessarily recognise them, so use the full terminology.
- Make sure your job application has a well-crafted cover letter. Applications with cover letters, carefully tailored to individual job descriptions, are generally more successful than those submitted without a letter. Employers agree that cover letters materially influence their decisions on who to interview.
- Reach out to a mentor: some jobs never get advertised – they get filled through personal contacts. We all have someone with whom we’d love to organise a meeting and now might be the perfect time to instigate it. Be bold… introduce yourself via email and ask a dream mentor for a virtual 30-minute meeting.
- Ensure your social media accounts are in sync. If Twitter, Instagram or Facebook present an inappropriate or conflicting image of you, it will weaken your credibility. Remember, the goal is to have your entire profile - cover letter, résumé, LinkedIn profile, and other social media accounts - conveying one clear and consistent professional image of you. Bear in mind that any prospective employer will likely look at all your social media and see if the image of you supports your professional goals.
- If you are furloughed, use this time to upskill. Learning a new skill can be either complementary to your existing job trajectory, or geared towards a new career. Ask yourself, “What skill would make you more employable six months from now?” Is it a specific type of software you’ve been meaning to learn? Is it HR knowledge about how the furlough scheme actually works? Is it supply chain research about how to manufacture products less expensively? Pick your area and put on your research hat.
- Use your networks. Joining and staying active on LinkedIn and even Facebook can lead to unforeseen job opportunities. A strong presence on LinkedIn can be a launch pad to securing new employment. Résumés that included a link to a comprehensive LinkedIn profile received 71% more interview call-backs than those that included a limited LinkedIn profile or no profile at all, according to ResumeGo, a professional CV-writing service.