In my role as a recruitment consultant dealing with global clients for IT projects in Switzerland, I regularly receive CVs from candidates that have a fantastic background but who haven’t quite mastered the art of selling their skill set to the broader market. The recruitment industry is hyper-competitive and you need to differentiate yourself from the competition. Want some helpful hints on how to stand out from other job seekers, then read on!
1. LinkedIn profile
Your jobs and responsibilities change over time and keeping an updated social media profile is not an option if you want to remain an attractive candidate for a new job. Another social media site relevant to the DACH region (Germany/Switzerland/Austria) is Xing.com. Recruiters and HR professionals almost automatically revert to checking social media to see a person’s profile. If you’re on a temporary contract which is ending soon, make it easy to spot by listing keywords such as “looking” or “available for next project as of (Date)”. The same applies if you are on a sabbatical leave or relocating. However, if you are currently seeking employment or in a role but looking to see what the market is offering, just use the ‘open to new opportunities’ feature on LinkedIn which will make you stand out. Agency and inhouse recruiters use search engines and social media features to look for candidates and include specific terms as above; if you don’t include them you may not end up as a search result.
Examine the job advertisement and the role/title of the person listed as a contact at the company: you may quickly realize that the person may have limited technical knowledge. Your goal is to get this non-technical person to understand that you’re the perfect match.
If you are applying for a specific role, make sure you have relevant experience. Tie in your past projects and technologies you’ve used. Some companies use auto-filters that scan CVs for the specific words. You could be the world’s best software developer but the fact that you omit to include the certifications they list as essential to the role may mean that your CV never makes it to the top of the shortlist.
4. Technical skills matrix/certifications
Simply listing a collection of bullet points of the varied technologies is a good start but don’t forget the fact that “seeing is believing”. Visualizing the experience on specific technologies will allow a non-technical CV reviewer to understand that you have the precise skills they’re looking to acquire. Skills matrices and certificates can bring your experience to life! If you need more info on how to craft the perfect CV for Switzerland, just read this article: 10 mistakes on your Swiss CV.
5. Professional profile picture
In my local Swiss market, employers expect to see how the candidate presents themselves. Don’t be anonymous! We’re all professionals and you may wish to consider a trip to a photographer to get that perfect profile picture done (don’t forget to wear business attire). Before you ask: No, that picture of you wearing a tuxedo at your brother’s wedding is not appropriate!
6. Adapted cover letter
HR professionals advertise jobs online with the express intent of gathering relevant candidates to present to their business. Simply sending through your generic CV doesn’t cut it nowadays. It boils down to commitment: if you can drive home the point of why you, specifically YOU, are the right professional for the job, you have a higher than likely chance of being selected to progress to an interview. If don’t have time to write a cover letter, at least try to write a few lines of content summarizing your background and relevancy to the role.
7. Pick up the phone
Whether you’re based in Spain or vacationing in Australia at the moment, try to pick up the phone as much as you can, even if it’s to tell us that you’re not available or interested - this way we can move forward as quickly as possible. We like to hear from you, so the more we speak the better we can understand your search requirements.
8. React to contact requests
If a recruiter sends you a request, take those few moments to either show interest in the opportunity presented or let them know it’s not the right fit. The labor market is fast-paced and you could be missing out on a fantastic job by simply rejecting every recruiter’s contact request. Recruiters are human. If you don’t respond this time they may not reach out to you next time.
9. Be flexible
It’s a competitive world we live in, try to accommodate interview times that may mean you have to clock off work an hour earlier. If you can’t make yourself available, maybe the next candidate who is flexible convinces them that they’re the perfect hire. Sometimes it’s not Mr/Mrs. Right that gets the job, but rather, Mr./Mrs. Right Now. You may have just missed out on your dream job!
10. Get a professional sounding email address
If I laugh at your quirky email address, maybe this isn’t the first impression you want to give a prospective employer. Be professional and think about maybe creating a mail account exclusively dedicated to your job search. This way when you are working you can focus on your work and private life without unnecessary interruption. Setting an auto-reply to advise the sender to your job search email when you have found work is both highly courteous and practical.
I want to swipe right when I see your CV! By taking these tips into consideration you will stand out from the competition when applying for your next role. Once you’re ready for the Swiss market, don’t hesitate to contact me if you’re an IT professional. As a Sales Consultant in a recruitment agency, I would be happy to assist you in your job search! Just message and connect with me on LinkedIn. Working with a recruitment agency can tremendously accelerate your career. Here’s why: https://www.experis.ch/blog/2018/01/why-your-next-career-move-should-involve-a-recruitment-agency