By Lilian Wamaitha
What makes great companies like Safaricom stand out? Have you ever seen an advert that has stayed with you for years?
You can agree with me that Coca-cola, Faiba as well as Safaricom adverts are unique. I mean I can never tire of watching Mbugua do his thing, the catchy Coca-cola “Share a coke, share a feeling” or the “Niko na Safaricom” advert showing everything that is beautiful about this country.
Why am I talking about all this?
When a company is advertising, they have to look at what they are selling from a different angle? What is so different about that particular product that other companies do not have – better known as the unique selling point (USP)?
When looking for a job, you should make it your business to determine your unique selling point.
“Employers are looking for a candidate who can stand out. They are not looking for just another business developer or IT guru. They want somebody who has something more to offer and that should be your leverage,” says Rebecca Nyawira, a professional CV writer.
“As a CV writer, when writing your CV, this is what I am looking to bring out. You may have the same qualifications as the other candidate but best believe it, I will find your unique selling point,” she adds.
When sending an application for a job, remember that 250 other people have applied for the same position. An employer has about 30 seconds to a minute to determine if you are the right person for the job.
“If I can’t find what I am looking for at a glance, best believe that I will move on to the other candidate very fast. As a recruiter, I have very limited time to fill a position. This time is divided between creating an ad, shortlisting, interviewing and doing background checks. I have to move fast if I want to close a position in time which means that I will not spend quality time looking for something that is not on your CV,” says Ms Muthoni Ndegwa, a recruitment manager at Corporate Staffing Services.
So how do you stand out from the pack? How do you determine your unique selling points?
1. Bring out your key achievements
One of the mistakes I see a majority of candidates make is just list responsibilities and leave out key achievements.
Your achievements are your most important unique selling point and you should always bringing them out on your CV.
“Everybody can do a job, but very few people can actually go beyond their call of duty. Did you exceed your employer’s expectations in your previous job? Did you bring in more sales than any other sales agent that year? Were you the employee of the month? Bring this out because that is what makes you unique,” says Rebecca.
Most of the time, your responsibilities are just a replica of your job description and as you can imagine, there is nothing unique about that.
Nothing makes you stand out just because you were an account holder? What makes you unique is the difference you made in that particular position.
This however does not mean lying about your achievements. If you never made a difference in your previous role for whatever reason, do that in your next position but don’t lie.
One thing to remember is when listing your achievements never put anything that you cannot verify. Of course not everything can be verified, but these things always have a way of coming out and it’s one of the reasons why reference checks exists.
You can say for instance; “I helped develop and implement a customer service program that significantly reduced the number of unhappy customers by 60% in one month” or “I created an online marketing campaign that helped increase sales by 35%”
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2. What are your skills?
How do people describe you when you are not in the room?
When determining your unique selling point, the skills you possess matter also.
What skills have you been able to gunner over the years that relate to the position you are applying for?
It doesn’t matter if you consider these skills routine or not, as long as it relates to the job, don’t be afraid to bring it out.
Employers hire on the basis of skills rather than education qualifications. [ 5 Clear Signs That Your CV Is Underselling You Every Time ]
3. What value will you be adding to the company?
When an employer advertises a job, they are not doing it out of charity. They are looking to fill a position that they consider important. They are looking for someone who can help them make more money.
It’s one thing to do a good job or have the skills for it and it’s another to actually add value to the company. This value is what employers are looking for. What are you bringing to the table that the other candidate does not have?
For instance, perhaps you are a great mobile applications developer with a number of skills like software, hardware and management. This is great! But that alone won’t help you to stand out from every other mobile applications developer applying for the same position with the same skills.
Are you a good sales person? Do you have a proven track record of delivering results?
You only have one shot of creating a lasting impression. When applying for a job, the employer has no idea if you can do the job or not. They don’t know about your personality or whether or not you can fit into the culture and deliver the results they want. What they have to go by is that CV, which is why you should be selling yourself as much as you can in it because best believe it, the next candidate is doing exactly that.
Always write your CV in a way that you stand out. Write that CV like everything is on the line for you. And this means bringing out what is unique about you.
Lilian is a Communications Officer at Corporate Staffing Services, a leading Recruitment firm that offers CV Writing, Job Placement & Career Advice.
If you have any queries on how to write a professional CV, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com