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Your CV is no longer enough

Updated: Oct 28, 2023

It still amazes us that after 10 years of not working directly in HR management, candidates still focus their CVs on studies they did or work experience they had.

Conversely, companies nowadays are focusing more attention and money on what they call “soft skills”. Companies are looking for people that can think out of the box, can act outside of their ordinary work, can perform and speak in public, and can develop others and reply to challenges in a professional way. And this normally doesn’t come with formal studies or with a job category.

So one question is: are you training yourself to be better? Another: Are you the candidate that companies want to know? And also: Are you showing your potential? Are you showing your abilities?

Think with us for a moment. Do you know how many people complete a master’s in economics every year, or finish law school? If you put these on your CV, you will be one in 5000. You are no different from anyone else; you’re not distinguishing yourself from the rest and you’re not a sparkling candidate for companies.

What is the best way to present yourself to companies and land the job that you always wanted? Here are some tips to better present yourself.

Study the company. Go and do your homework. Check the type of people that are working there. You can do this for example through LinkedIn. Connect with people working there and ask for feedback. And adapt your image, information and way of approach. Realize that if it is really the company that you want to work with, you want to activate your critical thinking.

Be flexible: a CV for one company is not the right CV for all of them. Change and adapt the CV in accordance with the question: What does the company want? Change the photo. Change the way the experience is set out. Change the points that you highlight. And adopt the wording that they use in your CV. Create a unique CV for each company because they are different, even if are in the same line of business.

Show your abilities: get away from only putting your studies and formal education on your CV. Show all the things that you can do for the company. Show what you learnt over the years with the activities that you had outside of university or work. I learned a lot with my funk and soul band in the more than twenty years that we played together, not only about group dynamics but also a lot about myself (Peter). Everything can be intensive training in self-development.

Develop yourself and don’t wait for a company to pay for it, or for the performance review, because you can be too late. Be aware of your points to improve and look for the best way to improve them. And remember that there is not only one way to learn and develop an ability. Choose the one that fits you best, in terms of time, investment and location.

For instance, when I wanted to improve my event- management skills, I did voluntary work for the European Capital of Culture, which allowed me to work with live entertainment companies like “La Fura dels Baus” and be co- responsible for events for more than 200,000 people (Ligia).

Take the risk to be different. Be authentic, be yourself. This is because if you get the job they will “find you out” sooner or later! And getting a job is not the same thing as quitting a job.

Peter Koijen and Ligia Ramos, in2motivation

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