We speak with thousands of job seekers every year from almost every country, industry, job function, and seniority.
The bad news is that there are a lot of places people are stumbling in their search. The good news is that many of their job-search woes can be diagnosed and fixed. That’s why we created an on-demand class geared towards helping people overcome the 5 biggest job search mistakes (available here).
And now we arrive at our final of 5 biggest job search mistakes: not addressing employer needs in your resume or cover letter.
Creating your application is like public speaking – you must know your audience and deliver the message they want to hear.
How to achieve this?
Customize Your Resume
If you are one of the job seekers mentioned in part 1 of this series who has one resume and uses a ‘spray and pray’ technique, this is another way your strategy will fall short. And this is one of the reasons your technique turns up no results. So before you hit submit to another job opening, read this.
Customizing Keywords on Your Resume
You’ve heard about matching keywords. Commonly, this is to assist applicant tracking systems in identifying resumes that have certain keywords. For example, is Ruby on Rails experience mandatory for the job? An applicant tracking system might scan your resume for those keywords before deciding to pass you along to an actual reader. If employers need it – you better have it.
Organizing Bullet Points on the Resume
When it comes to delivering your value to the employer’s needs, the order of your bullet points plays a surprising role. Take note of the job description. The job duties are always going to be stacked in order of most important to least. This is important in helping you understand the most pressing needs of the employer. When it comes to your resume, try to mirror their needs with bullet points showing your matching achievements. For example, if the top bullet says: “Manage company’s social media accounts and increase followers,” you would want to lead with: “Increased social media followers across all accounts by 20% in 6 months.”
Omitting Information from Your Resume
Not everything is going to be relevant. This becomes increasingly important for those seeking a career transition. So don’t worry about cramming everything into your resume. A startup company with 10 employees might be impressed with your bullet point stating that you managed 20 direct reports and 100 indirect reports, but that may not have any bearing on the role they need filled. Instead, revisit the needs of the employer and see if you can fit a relevant piece of material in that spot. Do heavy research and ensure that the information you supply is as relevant to the company and their needs as possible!
To gain more information about what the company really needs, be sure to set up informational interviews with employees. This will prepare you when you craft your resume and cover letter, as well as when it comes down to the interview.
All of the above also applies to your cover letter. You need to be selective about what you include so that you can speak to how you can solve their problems as quickly as possible.