In a competitive job market, hiring managers have their choice of highly skilled professionals. They receive hundreds of resumes for each opening they post and only stand out applicants get invited to interview. So, if you’re blasting out an application to every job opening you find and not getting any responses, you’re wasting valuable time in your job search. Drafting a job application that will get you noticed requires research, commitment, and time. This is why deciding whether or not a job is the right fit, before you apply, is an important consideration. Increase your job search success by asking yourself the following questions when looking at job descriptions to make sure you’re applying for the right positions.
Do I have the right qualifications?
Employers often list a large list of duties in their job descriptions, but it’s the mandatory requirements that you need to review most closely. Do you have the 5 years of experience they’re asking for? Do you have the relevant licenses and certifications required? The mandatory requirements are mandatory for a reason. The department manager has reviewed them and won’t accept a candidate with anything less. If you don’t meet the deal breaker criteria, then don’t waste your time and energy filling out the application.
Am I the person they’re looking for?
After you’ve determined that you meet all of the skill requirements, it’s time to evaluate whether you’re the ideal candidate. Today more than ever, companies are hiring for cultural fit. If the job description doesn’t provide personality characteristics that they’re looking for, do more research on the company. Use LinkedIn to find current employees and browse their social media accounts. Are their personalities and interests similar to yours? If you get an interview, you know the recruiter will ask why you’re the best fit for the position. Combine your past experience and accomplishments with research you find on the company, and make sure you’re ready to provide an answer.
Can I make a valid case for candidacy?
Now that you’re convinced you have all of the necessary characteristics and qualifications required to do the job, you have to determine whether you have the supporting evidence to convince the hiring manager. Start by copying and pasting the job description into a file. Compare it to your resume and highlight everything in the job description that’s supported by accomplishments and experience on your resume. For the skills that remain not highlighted, jot down something in your background that relates to that skill. If you can’t think of anything to say or write about at least 85% of the skills, the position probably isn’t the right fit for you.
Does it fit in with my career goals?
During the job search, it’s easy to become focused on the immediate need of finding a job. It’s equally as important to consider your long-term goals when looking at job descriptions. There’s nothing wrong with a lateral move (or even a step-backwards) when you have an urgent need to find a new job. However, you need to evaluate whether what you’ll be doing in the job will help you reach your career goals. If it doesn’t maintain or expand your skill set, then it’s not a job you should apply for.
Is the salary in line with my needs?
While many job posting don’t include compensation details, there are ways to get a ballpark range of what the position pays. Use Glassdoor.com and Salary.com to get a good idea of what the salaries at different companies for similar positions are. If the salary range is much lower than what you’re looking to make, don’t waste your time applying to the job.
When you find a job that’s a “Yes” to all of these questions, you’ll be able to create a much better application that will help you stand out from the crowd. Putting just a little more effort into making sure a job is right before applying helps you increase your return on investment in your job search.
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