By Lola Olutola
Fellow and Features Writer
In 2014, each graduate job received on average 39 applications and in 2016 only 2% of job applicants made it to interview. With statistics this dreary it’s tempting to give up hope on ever getting that job of your dreams. But it’s not impossible to be within that coveted 2%. So what can you do? In this article we will go through five ways to make your CV stand out of amongst many applicants and impress the hiring manager so much they invite you to an interview.
1. Learn a language
I know for some of you the memories of conjugating verbs and participating in awkward oral assessments is mostly what you remember from learning languages in school, but languages can often be extremely useful on a CV; opening doors to job opportunities that are cut off from the three-quarters of Brits that are unable to speak a second language.
Learning a language doesn’t have to cost a lot too. There are plenty of free resources and apps to use out there to use, some of the best include BBC Languages, Duolingo and Buusu.
If you want to make language learning a more social experience check out Meetup.com where you can find local groups to practice your language of choice!
The phrase ‘you need experience to gain experience’ can be all too painfully familiar when you are on the hunt for your dream job. It’s annoyingly head-scratching to hear, but instead of feeling stuck, volunteering can be a great way of overcoming this obstacle in your job search.
For example if you’re interested in working in publishing, a stint volunteering in a bookshop will effectively illustrate your passion clearly whenever you apply for work schemes. If you’re interested in working in graphic design, volunteering to design posters and flyers for a local charity is a great way of demonstrating your skills and gives you something to show off at interviews too.
Check out do-it.org, for volunteering opportunities in your area.
3. Learn how to use software
It’s important to note that every different industry will have a set of computer softwares that they will be reliant on, and will sometimes expect new entrants to use and understand. This can be tricky when you haven’t got hundreds of pounds to fork out on expensive software.
One way around this is to search for anyone who already has the software so you can borrow it, OR, you can look for free alternatives that you can download and use yourself. For budding creatives, a lot of jobs expect you to have some experience of Photoshop and other Adobe products which can seem impossible to get when you look at the pricetag, but free alternatives like GIMP and Pixlr are a great way of honing your skills and using your initiative.
4. Do an online course
Doing an online course is a nifty thing to put on your CV and enables you to easily gain a greater understanding of your chosen career without spending loads on a university degree. FutureLearn and OpenLearn are two of the best sites out there for free online courses, many of their course providers are universities so you can get a high quality education without the price tag.
5. Create your own website
In this social media age, it’s always a good idea to create your own personal brand, and what better way of doing this than by creating your own website! Providers like WordPress and Wix allow you to create a shiny new website that you can use to display your work and talk about your passion for the industries that you are targeting in your job search, making you look like a stellar candidate!
These are just five ways to help you make your CV shine and although these ideas are different they all have one thing in common: taking the initiative! If you’ve identified that you lack some skills then it’s up to you to reverse the situation and find a way of gaining them!
If there are more ways that you think a CV can be improved then fell free to let me know in the comments.