Gone are the days of applying for seemingly every job under the sun in the same manner of throwing spaghetti onto the wall and just seeing what sticks. Job search today is all about targeting: the exact type of job you want, and the exact type of employer for whom you’d like to work.
There’s a strategy to using the job description properly in order to land that ideal role. Here’s how:
Use the description as the foundation for further company research.
Interviewers like nothing more than a proactive candidate who’s done his homework. The job description is a window into the company – take in as much of the view as you can. Google the business to find out current news about what the organization, particularly the department you would be in, is working on right now. Doing so is essential to positioning yourself as something much more than the filler of that job. Beyond that, you’re demonstrating that you understand what’s required to hit the ground running and contribute to the company as a whole.
Speak the job description’s language in your resume.
Targeting your ideal role requires devoting some time to customizing your resume on a case-by-case basis. This customization need not amount to a resume overhaul. However, it behooves you to ensure you’re speaking the language that the specific employer wants to hear. For example, the company is looking for a Vice President of Marketing to drive “lead generation,” but your resume currently says you increase “pipeline growth.” These terms mean the same thing. However, massage your language so it reflects exactly what the company says is required.
Find out who currently holds the job, or previously did.
Take a moment to reach out and touch someone on LinkedIn. However, do so artfully. If the company is looking for a COO, you’d likely be stepping on some toes if you reached out to the current or prior COO. But if a company is hiring for a sales role, it’s likely you’ll be on a team that’s growing. In that scenario, reaching out to a sales professional who currently works there won’t seem like you’re after someone’s job. Send the person a message saying you know the organization’s expanding, you’re interested in coming on board, and are eager to glean any insights they’re willing to share.
Transform the description into a roadmap for your interview.
This strategy works best for a senior role at the C-level, because this is where you’d be expected to demonstrate leadership. Treat the description as a starting point. Once you’ve established how your prior career successes meet the needs stated for the position, take the interview a step further by recommending another manner in which you envision adding value to the business. Weave your company research into the interview conversation at this juncture in order to deliver maximum impact.
In nearly all cases, when you use the job description as a springboard: for company research, resume customization, dialogue with relevant people, or the interview conversation, you’re showing your ability to think innovatively and creatively. Doing so goes a long way to separating you from the masses who just hit the “apply” or “submit” buttons on the online job boards. These are the strategies that increase the likelihood of the employer choosing you!
About the author
Jewel Bracy DeMaio finds out who you are, what you do, and the value you bring, and articulates that in a way that invites the employers and recruiters to call you. Ms. DeMaio is a triple-certified, nationally-recognized executive resume writer and job search coach. Learn more at www.APerfectResume.com or call 855-JOB-FOUND.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock