“Leonardo Da Vinci is a detail oriented self-starter with experience in drawing”
I recently came across a LinkedIn post that gave the above statement. Sure, this is a very true statement about Da Vinci that could’ve ended up in his CV if he’d been alive today. It is also a very generic, bland statement that is filled with buzzwords that will not make him stand out from the crowd. I could even personally find similarities; sure, I’m self-starting, I have an eye for detail, and if I try really hard you could say that I have some experience in (very abstract) drawing. Does this make me the next Da Vinci?
Unfortunately not. The point of this post was to show the insignificance of very popular buzzwords that are used in many CVs. These buzzwords don’t do justice to the actual skills and personality traits of the writer. Words such as “specialised, leadership and passionate” are among the most used words in LinkedIn profiles. These buzzwords are hardly specific, and present a real problem for recruiters. Why would we hire one “tenacious leader who remains agile in high-pressure environments” over another one with the same description? This could be a description of Cleopatra, by the way.
For candidates, it is a challenge to present themselves in the best possible way. At the same time, recruiters will want to find out who the person is behind the CV. Here are three ways to differentiate yourself from the buzz from the perspective of candidate as well as recruiter. Take note in order for personality not to get lost in translation.
When applying for jobs, the language you use is likely different than the language you use to speak with friends. However, if everybody uses the same words, your personality will get lost in your application. Personality is a great way to stand out from the crowd, so don’t be afraid to show yours. Storytelling can be a great way to engage with the reader. By explaining what you do on a daily basis in everyday language, the recruiter will have a better understanding of what it is that you do.
Recruiters on the other hand will want to engage with candidate in such a way that personal language seems natural. Try asking questions that cannot be answered with buzzwords. Ask specific questions that allow candidates to elaborate on why they would be a great fit for a particular position.
Examples of previous work are a great way to show off your ability. Describe a situation where you handled well under pressure, or where you exceeded expectations. Mention something you’ve created, or provide a testimonial by one of your colleagues. This shows you understand and possess the required skills the the company is looking for.
For recruiters, this means you can ask for specific examples. Are you recruiting someone for a customer service position? Ask them to tell you about a time where they exceeded expectations. Are you recruiting someone to design your website? Ask them to make a mock-up design to showcase their skills.
Video is a great way to add personality to your CV. If the company you’re applying for does not ask you to record a video, you can still send in your own video in which you present yourself. Allow yourself to show your personality, and let the viewer know why you are the perfect candidate for the position. Have a look on our newly updated candidate support page for more tips on how to prepare and present yourself on video.
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