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​The 5% Extra That Makes The Difference: An Advantage in the Creative Job Market

26 Jul 00:00 By Lawrence Akers

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​The 5% Extra That Makes The Difference: An Advantage in the Creative Job Market

The 5% Difference

In today's fast-paced creative industry, the job market is a crowded and competitive space. Making yourself stand out isn't just about having the right skills and experience - it's about going that little bit extra to ensure your application is correct and that you're meeting each criteria point. It's about the 5% extra that can make all the difference. So, what does that look like?

1. Dive Deep into the Job Ad

One of the best ways to gain an advantage is by reading the job advertisement thoroughly. Yes, that might sound obvious, but you'd be surprised at how many candidates skim through without truly absorbing the crucial information. Moreover, their lack of attention to this information means they miss points that would make them unsuitable for the role. As a job seeker, make sure you understand what the role involves and whether you have the required skills and qualifications. 

Furthermore, check if your personal career goals align with what the company offers. This extra 5% effort to comprehend and match your profile with the job ad can provide you with a massive edge in terms of tailoring your application and ultimately acing the interview.

Lastly, make sure you follow the process that the job ad states.  Much like a design brief, there are generally specific instructions within the job ad and if you can’t follow them, it sends a message that you may not be able to follow directions.

2. Making the Right Moves on LinkedIn

Following on from that last point, when you see an exciting job opportunity on LinkedIn, resist the urge to quickly type 'I'm Interested' in the comments and move on. Remember, that's not the process. Employers seek engaged candidates who take the time to apply properly and show they are genuinely passionate about the role. Demonstrate that you're not just "interested", but you're also committed and informed. 

3. Presenting Your CV and Portfolio

Your CV and portfolio are your professional storytellers; they communicate your skills, experience, and creative journey. Ensuring they're up-to-date and represent you accurately is vital. Consider this - your application isn't just about showing that you can do the job; it's about illustrating who you are as a professional. You are your own brand, and your CV and portfolio are the tools that help to sell that brand successfully.

One further tip is to tailor your CV and folio for the job that you’re applying for.  This is especially true if you’re someone who has the career experience that could allow you to apply for a few different job titles.  Sending an all-in-one CV in those instances may just make the hiring manager feel confused about ‘what’ you actually are.

If you have a personal website, make it count. Ensure the URL is working, and the content is updated. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I click on a link only to find that the domain has expired, or 'coming soon', or just isn't active.  If you’re including it on your CV, make sure it works before that CV lands in anyone's inbox.

4. Navigating Communication

You've found a role that you're excited about, and you have questions - great! But remember, due to the volume of applications right now, it might be better to email your questions than to call unless absolutely necessary.  Emails give hiring managers time to provide thoughtful responses and also creates a record of the conversation that can be referred back to.  

Additionally, hiring managers are often working across multiple jobs at one time and can be very time poor. If your call is more of an opportunity for you to just say hello and get in front of them, it may not be received the way you hoped. Let your application do the talking by spending the time to really talk to every point of the job criteria and making your submission be irresistible.

5. Remote vs Onsite

Finally, consider the job location and working arrangements. If the job ad specifies a hybrid or onsite role, do not apply asking if it is remote or if you're not in the same city. Respecting the company's needs and conditions from the beginning displays professionalism and dedication.  While we can philosophically agree that hybrid and remote working can open up so many more opportunities for both you and the client, the client has made this request for a reason.

Make That 5% Extra Effort

Success in the creative job market isn't just about meeting the basic requirements. It's about making that 5% extra effort. That little bit more effort that shows you're serious, engaged, and proactive. By paying attention to the details, you position yourself as an attentive and committed candidate. So, go ahead and invest that 5% extra. It could make all the difference. 

Remember, it's the fine strokes that complete a masterpiece. Let your job application be that masterpiece that stands out in the crowd and lands you your dream role in the creative industry.

PS. There was no scientific means of coming up with 5% before anyone asks. It could be 3% or 7%; either way, it just represents making that time with a bit of extra effort to ensure your application is tailored to the job instead of hoping that the job just fits your CV.