When a business approaches me looking for a high quality Chief Financial Officer to assist their business, it is my usual practice to place one of the experienced part time CFO's from the team that I am already working with, however a couple of weeks ago we were presented with a role that required something a little different, and so I decided to go to market and placed an add on Seek……
WELL the result was overwhelming with over 100 applications coming through, and yes whilst not all of the applicants met the mark, ranging from the person who had just completed their certificate III in Bookkeeping at TAFE, as well as applicants from Public Practice and Management Accountants having a "crack".
However of those 100 or so people applying 30 were experienced, high quality CFO’s who would be an asset to any company they work with, and a handful of them were sent through to the client for their review.
Which brings us (the long way round) to the topic of this post.
Of the 100 applications that an advertiser receives, how do you give yourself the best chance of being in that final shortlist and obtaining an interview????
Write a clear Cover Letter addressing the selection criteria from the add. By all means have a punchy opening paragraph saying what an awesome person you are, but that’s it STOP! You don’t need to go through all your work experience and life story here, we can find this in your C.V.
BUT… what you do need to do is address how you meet the selection criteria from the advertisement, (don’t just say I tick all the boxes…gee that took a lot of care and effort).
If you can briefly explain how you meet each of the requested attributes, then you are a long way along the road to being on the shortlist, much more so than the person who submits a “generic” cover letter (once again demonstrating the level of effort that they would apply if they got the role) that goes on for a page and a half about how amazingly great they are, but then has to rely on someone scouring their CV and “hopefully” spotting the skills and experience that were being sought (or not).
Also keep in mind this is a corporate role so you don’t need “War and Peace”, BUT what you do need is “concise” and to-the-point.
That being said it’s probably only fair at this point to also mention a number of the employer adds that I have come across…
Companies you don’t need to fill three paragraphs with buzz words about how you are a “Family friendly, culturally diverse, inclusive, environmentally friendly, whole grain, gluten free employer of choice” people know who you are, and if they don’t they can look you up on the web and form their own opinion.
Simply say who you are, briefly describe the role that you are wishing to fill, and what specific skills and experience you would like the candidate to possess, and how applicants should apply.
So the number 1 tip when applying (or Advertising) for a job is:-
“ Keep it simple and to the point! “
David Prestney is the founding director of CFOCORP an organisation dedicated to helping business owners and management make their businesses prosper, through the provision of highly experienced Part time CFO’s which are a fraction of the cost of a full time position.