Looking For A New Job? Here’s How To Highlight Your Potential
If you’ve got great potential but lack experience you can still stand out from other candidates by focusing on the positives! Read this post for advice on how to highlight your ability and potential when looking for a new job.
The New Year is a busy time in technical recruitment with many candidates coming onto the market having decided that they want a new job, fresh start, change of direction etc. While skills shortages have made technical fields like structural and civil engineering, technology, and building services a candidate’s market, the new influx of job hunters inevitably has an impact on everyone else’s job search.
So even though you may boast a highly desirable skills set and solid experience, you’ve still got to ensure your CV stands out from the crowd – especially at this time of year.
What If You Lack Experience?
For candidates who don’t have as much experience as many employers are asking for – for example engineering graduates applying for graduate jobs that still ask for 3 years experience – what can you do?
Getting an entry level job, making a sideways move, or even progressing your career after a few years in the industry can be a challenge. However, focusing on the negatives, such as a lack of experience, is not going to do you any favours. Instead you need to look for the positives and sell yourself in a different way.
Of course, at the same time you must be realistic. Don’t apply for roles unless you can tick at least 60% of the ‘must haves’ the employer is looking for. If the employer wants 3 years experience and you only have 2, they may consider you if you stand out in other ways; but if they want 10 years experience, it’s very unlikely. If they require certain qualifications you’ll need to have them, or equivalent qualifications, or be able to demonstrate how you’re acquiring them.
But if you genuinely believe that you have what it takes to do the job and can bring something to the table here are my recommendations for highlighting your ability and potential, providing recruiters with good reasons to take your application further.
5 Ways To Highlight Your Ability And Potential
Recruiters scan covering letters and CVs to quickly identify the key things they’re looking for in a new recruit. Therefore, the first step is to make sure these things stand out.
If you lack experience, a skills CV format is best where you focus on the key skills needed for the role, rather than your work history. This is an alternative to a chronological CV where your work experience is immediately after your personal statement.
Use a combination of your personal statement and core skills to highlight the following key points:
Must haves – focus on the ‘must haves’ that you know are most important to do the job and highlight any additional skills that you know will make you more desirable. Don’t just list the skills the employer has asked for i.e. “able to work as part of a team”, qualify these statements with relevant examples.
Qualifications –if you have an equivalent qualification to the one the employer is asking for, make sure it’s clear that’s what it is – i.e. state “equivalent to a xyz”.
Performance – stress your ability to deliver results, after all there’s a difference between someone who has the right experience and someone who’s a top performer.
Cultural fit – do some background research into the company and what their culture is like and what their company values are. Then find ways to demonstrate your cultural fit by highlighting relevant attributes, interests (even hobbies) and achievements. For example, if the company has a strong culture of social responsibility and you have been involved in volunteering programmes or other initiatives, make sure this info is on your CV.
Goals – what do you want to achieve in the job you’re applying for, and in your career? Think about the company’s business goals and what they need from the job role and employees to achieve that. Then highlight how your skills and experience (even if it’s not industry related) will help the company.
CVs, LinkedIn profiles and covering letters are all about marketing you as the best candidate for the role. If you don’t quite tick all the boxes for a specific job, make sure you’re focusing on the positives and really selling your abilities and potential rather than your lack of experience.
Click here to upload your CV if you would like us to help you with your job search in 2019, or get in touch directly if you would like to talk to me or another consultant.