I see lots of CVs and cover letters that do not demonstrate the skills and strengths necessary for the role applied for. Why is this?
Most of the time, it’s just that a student is finding it hard to identify and articulate their skills and experience well. It is definitely a challenge to write up experience that doesn’t just say what you did, but how you did it (i.e. demonstrating relevant skills for the role). Check out these blogs on writing up your experience effectively, and using effective language in your CV.
Look before you leap!
However, I also meet students who are applying to a certain type of role or organisation because they feel that it is the “done thing”. They are applying because...well, frankly, because lots of their peers are. Or because they feel that the role or organisation is in some way prestigious. Often, these students haven't really thought about whether they would be good at (or enjoy) the role. For this reason, their CVs and cover letters don't reflect the necessary skills and strengths. And employers - many of whom are now using strengths-based recruitment techniques - can spot this straight away.
It takes a lot of effort to be successful in a job hunt - your time is precious! So before you apply to a role, we can’t emphasise enough the importance of:
Reading up on the role. Look carefully at the job specification, but also at sources with job profiles such as Targetjobs.co.uk, and prospects.ac.uk. Be very clear about what that kind of role involves. What might you like about it, and which elements might you find more challenging?
Getting a sense of the organisation and its environment. Doing this before you apply to a role is key. Who does that organisation work for or with? What’s changing for them? How does all this this relate to what is expected of employees? You could find out through the University's Alumni network (Bath Connection) whether there are any graduates working there who might be able to offer you any hints and tips. Read this blog on developing commercial awareness (important for public sector roles too!).
Thinking about your skills and strengths. The Careers Service has some great resources and tools that help you consider your skills and strengths. Do your skills and strengths match well to the role you're thinking of applying to? Do you think you would genuinely thrive in that organisation? If alarm bells are ringing, then perhaps it's time to talk your choices through (see below).
Talk to us!
Talking to our very lovely and experienced Careers Advisors can really help you make sense of the opportunities available. They can help you focus on what’s important to you, and the kind of role and environment you would thrive in. If you'd like to do this, you can start by booking a 20-minute Careers Appointment via MyFuture.