Standing Out In The Jobs Market

Standout in the job market

- Paula Whately

Recent reports seem to indicate that the economy has turned the corner and things are slowly starting to get better. However, unemployment levels are still high, and there are stories of many thousands of people going for every job which is advertised. With so much competition for a few vacancies, what are some tips and tactics that will help you stand out from the competition in the jobs market?

Standard Letters

When you are sending out as many as a dozen job applications each day, it is very tempting to have one standard letter which you send out with every CV. However, the application letter is the first chance you have to explain to a prospective employer why you are the best person to employ, and set out how your skills match the job specification which has been advertised. Do not make your letter too long though, as HR departments just do not have time to read through pages of text. It is also a good idea to tweak your CV for each job you apply for, as you can give more emphasis to experience which is particularly relevant to the role.


If you are unsure whether or not your CV is up to scratch, ask an industry expert to look it over. A CV should be 2 or 3 pages at the very most, and should vary as your career progresses. If you are applying for a high level vacancy and have 25 years’ experience in a related position, there is no need to go into detail about your GCSE results when you were 16. Never tell lies or embellish the truth on your CV as you will be eventually found out and risk dismissal from the job you worked so hard to get. Try to think of something interesting and unusual to add in the hobbies and interests section rather than the standard cinema, socializing and reading. If you have an interest in salsa dancing, volunteer for a charity or have been involved in organizations like Scouts you can mention this on your CV too.

Get Additional Skills

If you feel that your practical or job related skills are holding you back when it comes to getting a job, then be proactive and look for opportunities. Skills like having a driving license will open up a whole new world of job possibilities and if you are thinking of an office career, PA training courses will set you apart from the competition too. Training doesn’t have to be expensive; many of the PA training courses available online are very competitively priced and websites such as Coursera or EdX offer University level courses in a variety of subjects completely free of charge. Employers will be impressed not only that you have completed your PA training courses, but that you have shown initiative in seeking out and completing the courses in the first place.

Work Experience and Internships

If you have a particular company or industry sector which you want to work in, it can even be worthwhile offering to work for free for a set period. This can give two benefits. Firstly, it can get your “foot in the door” and you may be able to secure a job in the company once you are in working to get experience. Secondly, even if the company with which you do some work experience are not able to offer you anything more permanent, you will still have relevant experience and industry knowledge to show other employers. If you have done a good job you will be able to get a reference to show at your next interview.

Author’s Bio: After a career in finance, freelance writer Paula Whately decided working for herself was a better option. She is still interested in developments in the employment sector such as PA training courses and legislation facing employers. 

Image: Dave Grandlund


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