If you have ever spent an afternoon applying for jobs, you know just how tiring it can be. Typing keywords into job boards and reading positions until your eyes cross, and then after all that, you may never get a call back! Here are some tips that you can use before you apply to make sure you are a good fit for any positions you would like to pursue.Why should you care about being a good fit? Because Saint Louis is a small town. As recruiters we often recognize resumes or names when they pop up in our inboxes, and applying for every job you see without making sure you are a fit first makes your skills seem unfocused.
- First and foremost, stick to your current skillset. If you are interested in branching into a new field, you should look for positions that combine your current skills with those that you would like to acquire. Few hiring managers are willing to consider a candidate with 10 years of helpdesk experience for a Senior IT Project Manager position, for example. If you want to get into Project Management, you should look for an entry-level Project Management position that focuses on helpdesk projects.
- Once you have located a suitable position, scan the job description and look for keywords. These keywords are what help recruiters and hiring managers know which candidates have the skills they are looking for in positions. A keyword will typically be in a sentence like “must have experience with ______” or “5 years or more with ____”.
- Once you have located these keywords, write them down or copy them into a separate document or otherwise isolate them so that they are easy to find.
- Review your resume. Do you have these skills or synonyms of these skills in your resume? Of course very few individuals possess every skill on a job description. A good rule of thumb is to be sure you have all of the skills with the exception of one or two before you apply.
- Now that you know you have the required skills, check to see if you have the number of years of experience that they are asking for. The years of experience are a result of careful thought and analysis on the part of the hiring manager, so having fewer than 5 years of experience with a particular skill when 5 years are listed as required will most likely disqualify you.
- Check for educational requirements. Do you have the degree or certifications that the job description calls for? If not, you will most likely be disqualified.
- Lastly, look at any information that may be provided about the size of the company. Does it sound like it is a similar size to your current or most recent company? If not, you may be disqualified. This is because to employers, there is a big difference between supporting 40 users and supporting 4000. This doesn’t only apply to support positions either! Project managers, developers, and engineers at larger companies perform more collaboration on a daily basis than their counterparts at smaller companies. Collaboration is an important skill that enterprise level employers are looking for.
- Once you are certain that you are a strong fit, make sure the person who receives your resume knows it too! Send a detailed cover letter that describes how you are a perfect fit for the position and company in the job description.