The economic downturn has hit the UK hard, just like nearly every other developed country, and across the board the economy is struggling. Nonetheless, not all sectors are experiencing as much a trough as others, and a quick look at the reed.co.uk jobs page, or any other job site, will reveal which sectors are outshining the rest.
Those sectors are the services sector (the pillar of the UK economy for quite a few years now) and the pharmaceuticals market (particularly in research and development and particularly with GSK at the moment). Getting into pharmaceutical is complicated, as you often need to have particular skill sets and usually a relevant degree. The services sector, however, is much more open.
In services more than just about any other sector, the most important attribute to have is good people skills. Unfortunately, demonstrating good people skills through your CV or cover letter is a bit tricky, but what you can show is confidence. In your CV and cover letter (and application if there is one involved) set out your qualities in no uncertain terms. Of course, you need to be sure that you can back up your skills with concrete examples, but avoid soft sentences like ‘I believe’ and ‘I think’ and say straight out that ‘I am fantastic’ (or words to that effect).
Another way of making an impression is to get in touch with the HR department concerned. That’s not to say that you should get their phone numbers on speed dial, but that you should make sure your application is addressed specifically to an individual, not just to ‘Dear Sirs’.
Also, don’t assume that because the company concerned might be well known that you know them well. A name isn’t everything and it’s more important that you understand how the company views itself. Do some research and write your cover letter and your CV with this knowledge in mind, it’ll help you stand out from the crowd.
Last of all, play up the skills that you do have – if you’ve got a first class degree in English you might not think you’re the identikit for a consultancy post, but what skills have you got as a result? You can research, you can write, you’re organised (even if you’re not, point out that you are); think about seminars, lectures, and anything else to show off just how talented you really are.
Finally, remember, in any job application for any sector, you have to stand out. Really think about what makes you unique and, therefore, better than all the other candidates.