Look for Hidden Needs in the Job Description

Job Skills

Tip of the Day

When applying for a job, you want to highlight your traits and skills that are the best match with what the employer is seeking. So to give yourself an edge, study the job description.

Job descriptions aren’t written by machines. They’re written by people and often reveal a specific need for soft skills or people skills, in addition to technical knowledge. Study them closely and you’ll discover clues that can help make your resume stand out. For example, if the description demands evening and weekend work, you could include the fact that you provided round the clock support during an upgrade.

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Let’s take an example. In addition to technical skills, an employer wants:

Excellent communication skills. Willing to put ideas out in the open without fear of being wrong, and to stand up for ideas you believe in. Open debate and discussion is strongly encouraged on the team.

Strong analytic and design capabilities. Ability to think about and decompose a problem into simpler parts. Demonstrated preference for simple, cohesive, decoupled, and practical solutions.

Clearly the company’s looking for a courageous, imaginative, intellectually secure person. How do you demonstrate you’re the one? If they want out-of-the-box thinking, give it to them. Include a paragraph demonstrating those skills in your cover letter.

There’s no science to this. There are many ways to imaginatively weave your unique skills into your resume, but first you must understand what the hiring manager is looking for. So don’t skip over what may at first appear to be fluff.

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