How to write a brilliant CV and land your dream job in 2021

By: February 18, 2021
how to write a brilliant CV that gets a job

How do you write a brilliant CV to land the job you want in 2021? Here, Caroline Gleeson, co-founder and CEO of Occupop, gives her top tips.

There has been lots of job displacement due to businesses closing in 2020. With the rollout of the vaccine, 2021 is already lining up to be significant in economic recovery and recruitment. One thing to note is that the pandemic will also have caused a lot of voluntary job displacement. Many people working from home, isolated and left to reflect on their circumstances might come out of this seeking change.

Our research shows that 75% of companies surveyed believe that furloughed staff will not return to the organisation post-covid. Ultimately what this means is that there is going to be a considerable number of qualified people searching for jobs in 2021 and with the economy on the mend there is no doubt that it will be an employers market. As a candidate, how can you make yourself stand out in 2021?

What employers want and don’t want from job applicants in 2021
We hear very often from our customers that candidates don’t appear to be reading job descriptions and are just blindly applying for jobs. Our stats show that on average a hiring manager is receiving up to 500 CVs per job. As a candidate, you need to make sure that you apply for jobs you are qualified for.

Hiring managers won’t expect candidates to have all of the necessary skills, but if skills are missing, you should outline why you feel you are still a good fit for the role in the CV or cover letter.

How applicants can write a brilliant CV to stand out in the current climate
Tailor your CV and cover letter on every application. Be creative; don’t be afraid to play around with the norm regarding your CV. Use columns to highlight skills rather than listing them at the bottom of your CV. Start with the job description. Many companies now use applicant tracking systems to manage their hiring process, some of which have screening tools powered by artificial intelligence. The AI is looking for relative skills and experience that match the company’s requirements outlined in the job description. When tailoring your CV for a job, an excellent place to start is with the job description itself.

Tips for answering the most crucial interview questions in 2021
I’ve interviewed some outstanding candidates on paper who, in the interview, don’t come across well and ultimately lose out on the opportunity over another candidate.

There’s nothing more frustrating than interviewing a candidate who doesn’t know who you are or what job they are interviewing for. It is so important to practice your interview skills to give a strong first impression. You can start by knowing your CV inside out.

Secondly, please do your research on the company, familiarise yourself with its brand, and understand its business proposition. It would help if you had a good understanding of their products, key sectors, target customers and anything else relevant that you can discover online to show you are genuinely interested in working there.

Lastly, you need to sell your hard and soft skills, the latter being a little more challenging. Soft skills are assessed through competency-based questions which typically involve you giving an example.

To prepare for competency-based questions, create a list of core competencies relevant to the job you are interviewing for and plan a sample relative to that competency from your work or personal experience. Some core competencies pertinent to today’s market would include adaptability, resilience and determination.

What skills candidates should work on in their spare time to make a great first impression to an employer?
Typically your first impression with an employer is on paper, so I recommend working on a CV that demonstrates your capabilities clearly and concisely. Also, spell check your CV and then ask a friend or colleague to spell check it again.

The amount of CVs that I review with typos and grammatical errors is outstanding, and it demonstrates immediately that you don’t have an eye for detail. If you are successful with your CV, you will have the opportunity to interview. At this point, it comes down to how well you come across and how you sell yourself.

Developing your presentation skills can be done through practice as well as eliciting help from different awarding bodies. For example, Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs.

Lastly, I would recommend upskilling with online courses and accreditations where possible to elevate you above the other applicants.

Above all else, be selective, be interested and be flexible.