With pitch decks, the goal is to draw your reader to the relevant points – it’s the same for job applications.
Job applications. They’re not easy to write, and they don’t ever seem to get easier, no matter how many you submit.
We’ve found an alternative way to think about them so that the next application you write feels like a new challenge: Write them as if you were writing a pitch deck.
This article is part of our series of posts on helping mid-career professionals get to the next stage in their finance career. If you’re just starting your career journey in finance, you might like our series for early-career professionals.
Pitch decks should be easy to read and provide a tempting overview of the offer. Here are some tips that we think work equally well for job applications:
1. Go in with a strategy
When you’re pitching, you should always go in knowing what you need out of it, and what you’re willing to accept. The same applies to applications. What do you like – and dislike – about your current role? What do you need from your next position? Now, work out how these wants and needs align with the job description and make a note to highlight them in your application.
2. Don’t ever rehash content
We see a lot of CVs (and even cover letters) that were first created when candidates left school and simply revised and edited ad hoc. But CVs must be rewritten with a fresh pair of eyes, or you’ll remain stuck in the past. You don’t talk about yourself in the same way now as you did fifteen years ago, so don’t keep using the same CV!
3. Think about your audience
Whatever you write, it helps to think of your reader as a single person. Think about someone you know in your company who is tasked with reading job applications, or who reads a lot of business proposals. What would they want to read? What have they communicated to you that they find interesting – or frustrating – about a proposal?
4. Format appropriately
Bullet points and bold text (used sparingly) can be a great way to help readers quickly identify what they’re looking for. Clear is better than creative – certainly for finance jobs. Formatting should help your readers find the right information, not be an obstacle to it.
5. Don’t repeat yourself
Business proposals need to be punchy – apply the same principles to your CV. Take your personal profile and look for words you use multiple times throughout the document. Either find alternatives or look for new skills to show off.
6. Stay on topic
Just as pitch decks won’t need all the extraneous research information you gathered to reach your conclusions, stick to the facts that will make an impact on your reader. By now, the relevant professional qualifications will be much more important than your university education, so headline them, and trim away anything that is outdated or that does not support your application.
7. Be brief
Finance professionals are busy people who need to make quick decisions. So, help them! Don’t feel you need to fill two pages. If you can say the same thing in eight words rather than twenty, it’s time to get out your red pen.
8. Practice makes perfect
The best way to practice your job ‘pitch’ is with someone who is not an expert in your subject area. Get them to pick holes in your application. What can’t they understand? How can you express yourself and your experience more clearly?
We love thinking up unusual ways to get our candidates excited about the job process. What has worked for you in the past? Do you have any unique methods for writing or thinking about the job process? Let us know with the subject header “Blog article: New approaches to work” and tell us about you – we’d love to feature your ideas!