Getting noticed in a competitive jobs market can be difficult, particularly if you are relying on your CV and a cover letter to get you a foot in the door for an interview. Maybe 2017 should be the year you ditch the traditional CV and take a chance on something more creative to help you stand out from the crowd.
In 1482, the first known Curriculum Vitae was written by none other than Leonardo Da Vinci, when the inventor and artist penned an application letter to the ruler of Milan to explain why he should be employed as a military engineer. If the CV is more than 500 years old – is it still relevant to candidates looking for a job today?
The answer is yes and no. Yes, CVs are still very much the staple diet of recruiters, who faithfully use that two sides of A4 to make a decision about whether a candidate is right for a job or not. The problem is that a CV is a very 2D representation of a person, and with all the technology candidates have at their disposal, there are definitely better ways of getting noticed:
Be memorable – why not ditch the A4 paper and think about whether there is a more eye-catching way of presenting yourself and your skills to a prospective employer? Cole Warner recently went straight to the top of the interview pile for an intern’s position at Home Depot (which normally attracts around 20,000 applications a year) for his tool box CV, which used customised hardware products to detail his skills1.
Bring your CV to life – with today’s technology, making and sharing videos is child’s play so why not submit an application video to a prospective employer? This will give them an instant feel for you as a person, and you can talk about your skills and experience in your own words while getting your personality and your enthusiasm across.
Social media – this can be a powerful tool for finding a job, from applying for positions on LinkedIn to tweeting your CV to a company you’d like to work for. Jobseeker Ed Hamilton used Google Maps’ My Maps as his CV, dropping different coloured pins to show all the places where he had lived, worked and what he was interested in.
Show them what you can do – instead of saying you can do something, why not send something that shows them what you are capable of. Wannabe game developer Maurius Fietzek sent his application to Lucasarts via a game he created himself.
Advertise yourself – can’t find the job you want? Why not get employers to come to you? In 2011, Jobless Paddy – a marketing graduate in Galway – used his savings to buy billboard space to advertise his wares to potential employers. His extravagant gamble paid off and he was later offered a job at Paddy Power3.
Spice up your CV – if you don’t have enough in your savings for a billboard, try spicing up your CV with infographics or QR codes to make your application more memorable and interactive.
A good, old fashioned letter – think you are the right person for the job? Why not write it all down in a letter and get your dreams and ambitions for the future across in a way that a list of your past jobs and qualifications can’t.
Your application is your first contact with a prospective employer, and it may be your last if your CV doesn’t grab their attention. Be inspired to be creative and show employers the real you – it could just land you the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.