Speak Specifically to the Job Description

by Brian Skory

I'd like to talk about what is probably my number one recommendation for maximizing your chances of being considered for a position: Speak Specifically to the Job Description. I can't emphasize enough how valuable this one action is. Here's an example: Let's say that we post a position for an eCommerce Web Developer. The description has a full list of requirements including (just to name a few) fluency in JavaScript, JSP, CSS and experience building AJAX interfaces.

As the resumes come pouring in, recruiters and hiring managers narrow down the list by looking through them for the tell-tale signs that this candidate might have the experience called for in that particular position description. Depending on the job description and the resume, this might be an easy task, or it might be more difficult than finding a needle in a haystack.

Keep in mind that recruiters and hiring managers are often poring over dozens and dozens of resumes for a posted position. If it's taking too long to tell from a particular resume whether or not a candidate has those qualifications, guess what probably happens to that resume? Unfortunate for that candidate, but a golden opportunity for you—if you take the time to include in your e-mail some bullet points that speak specifically to that job description.

In our example above, it would go something like this:

"I am responding to your job posting for an eCommerce Web Developer. Specific to this position,

  • "I have been developing eCommerce Websites for over four years.
  • "I would consider myself expert in JavaScript, JSP, and CSS.
  • "I have had considerable experience building AJAX interfaces."

And you would continue, touching on any of the requirements that were an actual match to your skills and experiences. I guarantee that if you do this one thing, you will truly maximize the chances of your resume being escalated up to the next level of consideration.

As always, we're interested in hearing how your job search is going. Feel free to contact us.

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