As a job candidate, you rely on your CV to make a great first impression. The CV you send to apply for a position is pretty much all recruiters have to judge you by. They use it to build a mental image of you as a candidate.
That is why it is so important that your CV conveys your personality accurately. If the information it contains is too little or revolves solely around your hard skills, managers may decide your application does not warrant an interview.
A new survey conducted by ICM Research for youth employment charity Brathay Trust indicates that in order to succeed in securing a job, candidates need to turn the spotlight on their personal qualities and passions.
The survey covered more than 900 line managers and found that almost two fifths of them (38%) want young job hunters to highlight their personal achievements and real-life experiences in the applications they submit.
Moreover, almost one fifth, or 19% of managers say young people’s CVs all look alike, while 33% admit that good candidates can sometimes be overlooked and not asked for an interview because their applications fail to grab their interest.
With this in mind, job candidates are encouraged to tailor their CVs in such a way that their applications tell a story about themselves.
Commenting on the survey’s findings, Jez Anderson, head of apprenticeship development at Brathay Trust, told HR magazine that employers want to see more in a CV than just a list of qualifications. They need to be able to picture the candidate and work out how he or she would fit in the company.
According to Godfrey Owen of Brathay Trust, qualifications alone don’t land you a job as more and more employers are also looking at the personal qualities candidates can offer.
Many of these soft skills can be developed, Owen says. He points to apprenticeships and traineeships as great ways for young people to acquire both hard and soft skills needed for a successful career. Employers find apprentices to be 15% more employable than their peers, Owen notes.
Soft skills are not just important for job seekers, the ICM survey revealed. Staff who seek to enhance their soft skills outside of work are more likely to get a promotion, say 30% of line managers. And 24% believe the soft skills of their employees are what makes their company stand out from the competition. What is more, 35% named providing opportunities for employees to constantly upgrade their skills a key business priority.
According to the survey, the personal qualities line managers most look for in an application are a strong work ethic, commitment, communication skills and team working skills.
So, when looking for a job you need to go that extra mile to get your CV noticed. This includes giving your soft skills the place they deserve in your application, instead of just detailing your hard skills. Use your CV to tell would-be employers your story – and make it a good one.
What story does your CV tell about you?