When you are the applicant, you don’t give a lot of thought to the job description, other than do you meet some of most, or all of the criteria that they are looking for in that next perfect candidate. Now keep in mind that if you are reading it on the company website, or a job website, chances are the recruiter and internal staffing person at the company have not had any successful internal candidates and now need to open the job pool. Also, employee referrals probably have not garnished terrific candidates. Have you ever noticed that some job descriptions are super lengthy, full of wordy “stuff” that probably no one really can prove? If you are the owner of a start up company then you might have the luxury have actually writing the job description of the new staff member you want to add to the team. So why am I talking about job descriptions? Well, it is really important in the job search process and the resume writing exercises.
If you REALLY want the job, then you are going to memorize the job duties/requirements and then rewrite your action statements from your current job and the past jobs so they reflect that you have ALL of the things they want out of that person. If the hiring manager wants ______ (insert any transferable skill) then you better darn well demonstrate that you meet or exceed that skill. You action statements should be results oriented. Meaning, you say what you did, how you did it and what was the result.
Example: ” – Demonstrated excellent client relationship skills by increasing new business development 200% (1.2K annually) by effectively growing clientele base utilizing referrals and willing to recommend.” Of course this is a sales type of example, but you get the idea of a well written action statement that is guaranteed to get some results (like an interview). [job description might have asked for “cold calling” or some prospecting skill/technique and this action statements meets/exceeds that requirement.] This is what you will do for every requirement and then find a place in the resume where you did it. Part of the screening process is to ensure candidates at least meet the minimum requirements. The “nice to have” skills are what get candidates to the final round. So now that I shared this little bit of info with you, go back and look at the last job you wrote. Line up where you showed on the resume that you exceed every requirement. How impressive is your resume now? Btw, no one cares what you did 20 years ago. It is not current or relevant anymore. Sure you learned to type then but how fast do you ten key now in addition to typing?
As a reminder, if you are doing the job now, using those skills, you keep it in first person tense. If it is an older job, you put it in past tense. Hire, not hired. At all costs do not write in first person. “I did this. I did that.” No. No. No. Action verbs that show you can use a thesaurus effectively. There are already websites that write about good action verbs. Use Google if you can’t figure them out on your own. They don’t do actual career fairs like they did in the 80’s and 90’s, but if they did, you as a candidate could get a really good idea of what type of competition you are up against. Like, oh snap HE looks like a lawyer. SHE looks like a business executive, as you look at your “good” jeans and black athletic shoes. I sat in an office of candidates once, looked at what I had on and realized I was in the wrong place. Under-qualified but over ambitious. Save yourself the grief of thinking you will get a job you aren’t qualified. That HR person or screener many time are just looking to see what skills you have and ensure you can do the job. Your dazzling personality has to shine when you get that phone call for the first interview.