Last year I advertised a position vacant on one of the well-known online job search sites. Sixty-two applications were received, ten applicants were short-listed for a telephone interview, five attended a face-to-face interview and one was the successful candidate. It is interesting to reflect upon what makes a cover letter and CV stand out from the crowd. Did the successful applicant do anything differently?
In this instance, the answer is YES. Of the sixty-two applications received, only one – that of the successful applicant – was personally addressed to the individual doing the recruitment, even though this information had not been included in the job ad. Did this one act secure the job for this individual? Well no, yet it did demonstrate the attributes of professionalism, attention to detail and resourcefulness key to the role. The Internet, LinkedIn, Twitter and the like make it easier than ever to obtain relevant information to enhance your job application. Or simply call the organisation and ask for the relevant details.
In all applications, you are selling yourself to the influencers and the decision-makers. And yourself specifically means your skills, abilities and attitude. Your qualifications and experience are easily communicated. Communicating your unique strengths, skills and abilities is the essence of applying for the role and making it on to the short-list.
It is important to sell yourself quickly, clearly and persuasively at all opportunities. The decision-makers have limited time to get to know you and then be convinced that you are a potential good fit for the role. You have only limited time to influence them.
Below you will find a handy list of synonyms to assist you when describing your strengths, abilities and attitude in a cover letter or CV.
Words to use when describing your Attributes in a covering letter or CV:
|Adaptable||Articulate||Assertive||Attentive to detail|
|Conscientious||Co-operative||Creative||Copes with uncertainty|
|Resilient||Results orientated||Self motivated||Sense of humour|
|Thoughtful||Trustworthy||Well organised||Well connected|