Standing out from the crowd: the first instalment in a new series of articles.

It is true that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and first impressions can be reached rather quickly.  Depending on which research study you read, recruiters may only scan a CV for a matter of seconds or an interviewer may decide whether you are right for the job within the first couple of minutes. 

As specialists in accounting and finance recruitmentwe are often called in to help with the initial selection of recruits.  For the more senior-level vacancies, this process will certainly take more than mere seconds or minutes, however in my experience first impressions certainly are very important. 

Having read many hundreds and thousands of CV applicationsI thought I’d share with you my five top tips for making a strong first impression – both in terms of your CV and worth considering at an interview. 

  1. Do your research. There is nothing more frustrating than a ‘template’ CV application – one size does not fit all when you want to stand out from the crowd No matter what role you are applying for if you can show that you understand the core values of the organisation that you are applying toand how you would add value, this will definitely set you apart.
  2. Be specific.  Describe real-life examples of how you have put your skills to the test to prove that you are the right person for the job.  And prioritise the things that will make you stand out as the best candidate – don’t save the best until last.
  3. Include those all-important human skills.  In many senior roles, relevant industry experience and qualifications are a given, so it is especially important to also demonstrate those highly sought-after human skills.  Given the current climate, showing that you have the resilience to deal with the unexpected is a quality that many employers will be looking for.  Emotional intelligence is also an important skill to highlight, along with leadership, teamwork, creativity, communication and problem-solving.
  4. Demonstrate your desire and ability to embrace change.  The world of finance and accounting is changing rapidly.  Organisations are looking for individuals with a willingness and enthusiasm to learn new things and who can adapt to new areas as processes and priorities evolve.
  5. Don’t let your social media profile sabotage your chances.  We all know the importance of a strong LinkedIn profile, but what would your Twitter or Facebook account reveal to a potential employer?  Many organisations have started recruiting via social media and they are also using it to screen job candidates.  Pulling down the privacy shutters on all your accounts may not be the answer either.  If you cannot be found online, it may suggest you have something to hide or nothing to show.  By having a professional account in your name, you are giving yourself an opportunity to reinforce and showcase your skills, values and experience.   


Future Blogs coming in May and June:



Darran Crellin
Director, Fletcher George Financial Recruitment