The average employer looks at your CV for eight seconds; they’ve probably received anywhere from 20–200 CVs for the job you’re applying to and are sick of reading covering letters and seeing the same structure in Times New Roman. This is your cue to give them something a little original and innovative.
By embracing tools and technology, it is possible to make our professional profiles stand out. Here are some tips on how you can do this cheaply but still get optimum results.
Create a hire me page or CV infographic and email it to a selection of companies
This would work for speculative applications as well as for designated roles. It grabs the employer’s attention because you’re giving them more than an average two-page print out. This particularly plays to your advantage if you’re working in a competitive industry, such as television or journalism. But don’t underestimate it’s power elsewhere – it’s a great way to be noticed for creative or marketing roles too.
Make sure it is well designed though – using the brush tool on paint won’t cut it. If you’re not creative, pay a creative designer friend or promise to buy their beer for a month. Here’s an example of what you can do.
Create a hire me Facebook page and invite friends and contacts to spread the word
You might not know anyone who knows about a job vacancy, but friends of friends might. Don’t be shy about inviting everyone and anyone on your friends list, you never know who might be the vital connection.
Create a YouTube covering letter and tweet the link
If you want to get really creative, this is a great option. But be warned: putting together an exciting video CV and covering letter can either go brilliantly well or completely wrong.
You’ll want to make it impressive, but also modest. Sarah Wood of UnRuly Media recalls one of the best applications they received: “One candidate for a campaign manager position did a spoof of the Old Spice ‘Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ ad – a campaign we worked on. He filmed it in the shower and it went something like: ‘Look at your campaign manager. Now look back at me. I could be your campaign manager if you brought me in for an interview.’ It made the whole team smile. And we all want to work with people who make us smile, right?’”
Here’s another example of how you could do it:
Interact with the brands you love on all social platforms
Anyone and everyone can do this, no matter what your industry. Interacting with brands and companies online means they’ll get to know you as someone who contributes to discussions and is active in the community.
Facebook and Twitter are incredibly helpful here as the social aspect means you can show some personality. Be personal too – if you find out they’ve signed a new client, congratulate them. If they post a good blog, share it. Keep it professional and friendly and you’ll soon be on their radar.
Also sign up to their Linkedin and network with them. Sarah Wood, a co-founder of Unruly Media says this is crucial: “Attend networking events, get active on LinkedIn and be always be tenacious about it.”
Start a blog that is directly related to your field
A blog shows that you’re active in the industry and enthusiastic about working and building your professional profile. Make the blog something relevant to the field you want to work in and keep it updated so that at any one time you look active and engaging.
Start pitching freelance work in the field
Do you work in an industry where your skills can convert into freelance prospects? If so, why not do some freelance work as you job hunt? Websites such as Text Broker, 99 Designs and People Per Hour all offer freelancers opportunities for paid work. By keeping your skills active while job hunting you’ll be building experience, your CV and your confidence.
Look in the right places
There are plenty of niche job sites out there that specialise in recruiting for certain industries; you’ll often find those ‘harder-to-hear-about-jobs’ on these sites. Find a niche job site and keep your eye on their listings.
These are just a few examples of how you can boost your chances of employment by taking advantage of technology and the online world. Remember though, it’s better to perfect one or two of these techniques than to try them all at once and spread yourself too thin. Not every idea will match your skillset or personality, so have a think about which suits you as a person, the industry you’re in, and the role and company you’ll be applying to.
Elle-Rose Williams is a freelance writer and social media manager working in online marketing. She currently works with a London based company called Electric Dialogue — and got her interview with them by sending a rather honest and unusual email
Thanks to The Guardian for allowing icould.com to republish this article. You can view the original version here.