You want a new job. You are searching every online site you can. You have job agents searching ClearedJobs.Net. You are just one reply away from a new job.
Or are you?
Skip it if the ad does not speak to your interests and career goals. Why waste your time and the company’s time?
Recruiters and hiring managers will tell you that anywhere from 75-90% of all applicants do not meet the requirements in the job posting or ad.
And modern applicant tracking systems tell recruiters when you have applied for job after job with their company. That can make you look unfocused or dumb. Not good.
How do you decide whether to apply once you see an ad which interests you?
First, really read the ad/posting carefully and in detail.
Make notes or highlight parts of the job description. Far too often people focus on a couple of bits that match their skills and interests, and skip all the rest. Do you meet all of the major requirements? 80% or more of the total? Hiring managers are picky, most want 110% – so be clear and careful about requirements.
Second, check out the company.
Is it already on your target list? If not, do some research. Does it meet your needs? Right mission? Good culture for you? What is the online community saying – check out Glassdoor, Vault, LinkedIn communities, etc. Do you know anyone there you can learn more from? Then ask!
Third, if you are still interested make a matrix.
On one side is you. What are your career goals and needs? What do you offer in terms of experience, knowledge, specialized skills, education? Be positive but think this through carefully.
On the other side is the job ad. What do they specifically require for the job in the ad, on their website version of the listing, or elsewhere? What goals or challenges does the ad say are important? (And, yes, a good ad will have details about challenges the job offers.) How does the way the ad is written appeal to you? What does the content say about the company?
Now you are ready to decide whether to apply – the choice is clearly visible.
If you do decide to go forward:
- 1. Make sure your resume is tailored to the ad.
- 2. Use the same keywords, highlight the achievements that speak to their requirements.
- 3. Write a cover letter that shows the top few requirements and how you meet each – two columns or bullet points, whatever works.
And work your network for contacts within the company if you do not have any. Learn about their view of the company. Make the connection and you can enlist them in supporting you for the job. But not if you did not meet the 80% threshold on requirements!
Job ads and postings have real value in your job search but you need to assess each critically to find the right match. It is your career – and your reputation.
Patra Frame is ClearedJobs.Net’s HR Specialist. She is an experienced human resources executive and founder of Strategies for Human Resources. Patra is an Air Force veteran and charter member of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial.