Every day I get sent a lot of CVs from recent graduates looking for freelance and full time work at our video production company. Most of these CVs are pretty unremarkable. They’re dull, formulaic, and far from creative. Last week though I received a CV via the post that broke this trend by a country mile. I’d like to share with you why I thought it was so good…
1. THE ENVELOPE HAD THE X FACTOR
Most letters look the same, so I rarely get excited when I receive one (partly because they usually contain bills or junk mail). The letter I received last week was different. It’s envelope was made of aged paper and sealed using candle wax and a personal stamp. It looked like something Pride & Prejudice’s Mr Darcy would have sent. I was intrigued…and so was our postman. The letter had grabbed our attention, and when you’re writing a letter that you want to get read, that’s half the challenge.
TAKE HOME LESSON: If your letter can attract a fraction of the attention the CV did on its arrival, you’re on to a good start. It’ll get read, and not thrown in the bin.
2. THE LETTER WAS CUSTOM MADE
Upon opening the letter it quickly became apparent that it was from a recent graduate looking for full time work. As I sat and read their cover letter and CV it was clear that the applicant had spent a lot of time and effort on them. They were custom written, and the applicant had clearly done his research on our company. That in itself is refreshing…most applicants have a template cover letter of some sort and just change a few words here and there. In short, I was impressed.
TAKE HOME LESSON: If you’re going to apply for a position at a company, make sure you’ve researched what they do thoroughly.
3. THE APPLICANT DEMONSTRATED A BIT OF CREATIVITY
The thing that really stood out about the application though was a simple attachment. The applicant had stapled a coffee sachet to the cover letter, and a note was written below it “enjoy whilst reading”. This made me smile a lot, it was a very creative idea and I couldn’t help but show the application and attachment to other people around the office. If I remember correctly our postman remarked “you should employ him, that’s absolutely fantastic”.
TAKE HOME LESSON: A little bit of creativity goes a long way in an application. It can be a talking point that makes you stand out from the competition.
If you’re about to send a CV and cover letter to a potential employer, why not take 5 minutes to think about how you can add a little bit of creativity to your application. In a competitive industry like ours, you really need to.
P.S Needless to say, as soon as I had finished reading the CV and cover letter I was on the telephone to the applicant right way to find out more…