The job market is tough and it's getting tougher. Your CV is your No. 1 marketing tool and it may not be doing its job and that is getting you an interview.
In fact, most applications will get quickly screened out and dumped on the reject pile.
Don't think that just having great skill sets or years of experience is going to give you any edge. Lots of other candidates have skills the same as or better than you. The solution is to create a brand for yourself. You may even add professional to the profile, but that is if you have more than 3 years experience.
So how do you create your own brand? Review your CV. Does it have a clear statement that describes who you are and what you offer? This is called a "branding statement" and may be described as a "value added" or "unique selling proposition."
A true branding statement is a one-sentence description of who you are and what critical benefit you offer your next employer. It should describe your biggest strength and the resulting benefit to your previous employer.
The best branding statements usually incorporate figures in dollars or percentages of money, or time that was gained or saved over a certain period of time. Here is an example for that CFO:
"A Seasoned Chief Financial Officer strong in optimizing organizations to achieve maximum growth and market share who has produced new revenues or savings of more than $65 million for my employers over the past eight years."
Does your CV have a branding statement this strong? If not, think about adding one. It will take some time to develop your ideal statement. Once done, however, you will break that 20-second barrier and move that much farther ahead of your competitors.
For example, suppose you're an accountant who does auditing for major clients. Of course you may have noted a few irregularities here and there and made recommendation that have led to a significant reduction of losses. This translates into valuable thousands saved by the employer and it's just this sort of achievement that must be on your CV. When it's possible, put a value on your achievements. Our accountant example might look like this:
“Successfully audited company XYZ and saved the company K’sh 100,000 in losses through setting up of a monetary tracking system which is in use today”
By including several specific achievements where you've helped your employer make or save money, you separate yourself from your competitors and quickly gain the attention of your reader.
Please note an achievement does not in any way mean the following:
Delivered reports to executive director at five AM.
The above statement is part of your job description and this means you must deliver reports at 5AM. That’s where most people make mistakes.