Imagine your recruiter or potential employer, on an average busy day, furiously making their way through a seemingly endless collection of CVs, with yours buried somewhere within. How can you stand out amongst the sea of other applicants and get noticed…and noticed in a way that authentically reflects your personal brand?
Our guest blogger this month is Belinda Coaten, a Career Coach and Mindfulness Teacher who helps people gain clarity on their next career steps, successfully deal with change, learn how to best tackle the job market, as well as understanding how to present yourself confidently and authentically. Here Belinda talks about how to stand out by bringing your personal brand into your CV.
When we read a novel, if we care to look deep into the style of writing, the layout and structure of the chapters, the words, often painstakingly crafted we get the occasional glimpse of the author…and I think it’s fair to say that a CV, although minimal in size by comparison to a novel, should do the same.
There are usually lots of challenges we face when sitting down to write the CV – it’s often a while since we last updated it or even wrote one. We are also writing about ourselves, so more of a biography than a novel, and for most of us we are so deeply attached to self that it’s hard to step away and look objectively at me. What have I done? What have I accomplished? What should I write?
What’s the purpose?
So let’s step right back and pause to consider why? What’s the purpose of a CV? The CV is the first stage in the recruitment process. The recruiter simply wants to answer the question in their mind, which is, do you have the necessary skills and abilities to do the job? The overall purpose for you is to open the door to the next stage in the recruitment process, an interview.
There is no blue print to say this is how a CV should look and also what it should contain. And so one of the first ways to bring your personal brand to the CV is to consider the visual image, how do you want it to look? Ninety-nine percent of CV’s will be fairly uniform in their layout, being creative but not flamboyant will make your CV stand out from the sea of other applicants.
Be clear on what you authentic brand is
Your brand consists of a blend of different elements and all of these can be displayed within your CV. To name a few:
Your personality – consider how you work. If we all complete exactly the same task, we will all complete it differently. What’s your difference? Ask yourself, so how have I achieved the things that I have? Through honesty, integrity, sheer determination? Or some other quality?
Your credibility and reputation – this is a bit harder to convey within the context of a CV. You could talk about the context of your role, for example, how many customers you support, your reporting lines, or even how you came to achieve this role.
Your Values – if you include a profile section in your CV, your values are a good place to position these, simply stating them is a start. Turning your values into benefits goes one stage further. If you describe yourself as professional, what is the benefit to the reader or potential hiring organisation of you having this value? Being professional might mean to you that you go out of your way to stay up to date in your area of knowledge so your work is always current.
If you apply for a job online it is very likely that your CV will be unseen by the human eye until it has been zipped through some recruitment software. This software will be pre-programmed with key words. It is therefore essential that you create a match to the role you are applying for. You can do this by stating what you have done and include an example to what the recruiter is specifically looking for. This needs to be your main focus.
Is a CV the only place, or the right place, for your personal brand messages?
Today over 50% of recruiters are not placing adverts for jobs, instead they are using the quicker, cheaper method of searching for people on Linkedin. And the other 50% of recruiters who still want your CV, will go straight to LinkedIn to look you up and see what information is there before they pick up the phone and dial your number.
So, I’d like to propose that you also focus on creating and projecting a strong brand on your LinkedIn profile too. Within the scope of its drop down menus you have far more flexibility to describe yourself, and talk about what is important to you and why this is. Your brand can sing much louder and clearer via this method. You can display your photograph, upload a banner header of your choice. Talk about why you do the work that you do, what you enjoy most about it, and why. You can ask people to recommend you and so build your presence and credibility too.
My conclusion is that weaving your brand into your CV is crucial; you need to be authentic. And yet it’s a challenge, you only have two pages and what you detail must create a specific match to the role you are applying for. Using your CV in conjunction with your LinkedIn profile creates much more opportunities for you to be you. And this in turn allows the recruiter to see your personal style and to have much more than a glimpse of you, they can hear your brand messages loud and clear.
Belinda Coaten is a Career Coach and Mindfulness Teacher. She has worked with thousands of people across the UK who have received their P45 or are waiting for it. She helps people gain clarity on their next steps, successfully deal with change, learn how to best tackle the job market, as well as understanding how to present yourself confidently and authentically
To learn more and book a complimentary phone call, visit www.belindacoaten.co.uk.