A Fix to “All Things to All People” Problem When Presenting Yourself for an It Role

When you’re presenting yourself for a role, whether it’s technical or management, there’s a common problem that I see. IT people trying to showcase, everything they’ve done, every skill they have, every project they’ve been part of, right down to being the fire warden for their building.

What’s the problem with this?

It’s not because it’s too long to read.

It’s not because everything you’ve done isn’t helpful in forming who you are.

It’s because not everything is relevant to the employer reading your CV or interviewing you and the job you applied for.

Here’s how to increase relevancy:

  • Work out what the job is really about. (Ask the right questions if you can)
  • Spell out within your CV or interview not just what you’ve done or achieved but how that is likely relevant to the job you’ve applied for
  • I can’t emphasize the above enough. It’s up to you to bridge the gap for the employer between who you are and what they want.
  • Don’t present yourself as so generic that it’s hard to work out what your real value is to the company. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of value in generalists. It’s just that most candidates particularly for management roles will present as having very general, broad management skills and CV’s in this space tend to look very similar.
  • The way to stand out is to reference your applicability to the general skills/experience they are after but then highlight your key difference.
  • Answer this question. When they employ you, what skill/trait/superpower will they gain that most others won’t have? What do you have real depth in? Then highlight that. Make it run through as a kind of theme in your CV and then emphasize it again if you get an interview. If you’re struggling to know what this is, ask your colleagues or significant other.

But, I hear you say, what if that particular thing is not something that’s highly valued by the employer?

If that’s the case you may have well just filtered yourself out of that role. But that’s ok, if they don’t value that unique thing that you bring to the table, then it likely wouldn’t have been the right fit for you anyway.

Reach out if I can help at all. I’m happy to speak to anyone around career or employer recruitment advice.

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