If there’s one glaring problem with about 95% of all CVs in the UK today it is that fact that they look almost identical and don’t exactly inspire in terms of content either. The reason for this is the way in which there is something of a CV blueprint in terms of how it should be formatted and what should be included, but this leads to the overwhelming majority being rather on the robotic side when it comes to ‘filling the gaps’ and covering the basics.
So, what the recruiter is left with is a thousand homogenised CVs conveying the same standards of education and the same length of experience in the business, making it pretty difficult to select one candidate from the pack. And the problem is the same across the board, whether it’s nursing jobs in question or top-tier IT jobs in London or anything else besides.
Funnily enough however, what all of the above adds up to is a situation wherein it is perfectly possible to stand out from the crowd and be noticed by recruiters simply by finding the one thing that makes you unique and thus a compelling candidate. This is often referred to as a unique selling point (USP) and is the kind of make or break CV element that’s worth its weight in gold.
It’s a simple question therefore – what makes you unique and more suitable to the job you’re applying for than anyone else?
The obvious place to begin looking for a USP is in your education – have you studied anything that sets you apart from your rivals? Or if it’s looking like you’ll all be pretty much on par, what standout achievements have you met along the way that could tip the balance? Qualifications always look the same on paper, but everyone has a different experience during their education and reaches different highs in different areas. Don’t just rely on saying “I got a B grade” but go a little further with what matters.
In a similar vein to the above, you and about a thousand others might have five-years of experience in the industry, but will your working lives have been the same every day? Of course not, which is exactly why you need to look at what made your own experience unique and thus why you stand out. Again, look toward achievements rather than simply experience/what you did.
If anything can tip the balance in your favour, it’s personality. All the experience and qualifications in the world don’t amount to anything if you can’t back them up with the ideal personality for the job. This is precisely why a seemingly under-qualified person will often be picked over one with all the boxes ticked ten times over.
Last up, if you can think of any times you’ve gone above and beyond what was expected of you in a relevant setting, you’re already one step ahead of most of your rivals. This is exactly what your USP is all about – finding as many of the ‘little things’ as possible that make you unique and how you to be the perfect choice for the job, which should be points of focus as opposed to the generic.
Guest post By Gail Price
Gail Price has recently made a career change after working several Glasgow staff nurse jobs and realising she had so much to offer jobseekers across the area. She now runs a successful online coaching program and intends to increase the size of her business in 2013 and beyond.