Is a professionally prepared CV and cover letter all you need to get a new job?

In a word – no.  A professional CV and cover letter are not magic documents that will get you into any role that you want!  There are quite a number of factors that come into play when you are hunting for a new role and the more that you can prepare to overcome them, the quicker you will find success.  Here is what you need to be aware of when applying for a new role:

Internal applicants– this is one of the hardest aspects to overcome.  Employers tend to prefer internal staff as they are a known quantity and it is a lot more cost effective for them than taking on someone new.

Experience– it surprises me that a number of clients have wanted me to prepare letters for them for roles that they have little or no experience in.  

Meeting the role criteria– again I have had clients wanting to apply for roles that specify the candidate must have knowledge of certain technical programmes, for example, and they have no experience with them at all.  Pay particular attention to the wording in an ad: if they use the word “must” or “essential”, then you are wasting your time applying if you do not meet these criteria. This is one of the most important parts of your job search – the more closely you can show employers that you have what they are looking for, then the more likely you are to be chosen.  I almost always include a section in a cover letter that shows how the client matches the job description.

Realistic career step– if you have three years’ experience, you will most likely not be successful in applying for senior level roles.  Look at roles that would be the next natural level for your career pathway.

Interview skills– I cannot stress enough how important it is to put a lot of research and work into this aspect of your job hunt.  Interviews are not easy to come by, so you should always come into them prepared and confident.  I advise all my clients to look on YouTube for “Interview Training” videos – there is a wealth of information out there from industry experts and seeing some live examples of both what to do and what not to do, can make a world of difference to your confidence and your success.  Even if you feel you do well in interviews, being armed with preparedness will make you a prime candidate.

Location– the further away you are from a role, the more likely you are to be put to the back of the pile unless you can demonstrate exceptional skills.  If you are applying from overseas or out of town, make sure that you let them know you are able to relocate at short notice if successful in the role.

Your CV and cover letter are a very important part of the process, but not the only ones.  The people who find success the quickest, are the ones who address as many of the above aspects as possible.