Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to engage in extensive reconnaissance work.
Sleuth out opportunities that match your education and skill set.
Browse company websites and find 10 job postings of interest to you. Print out the job postings and highlight repeated terms and phrases, paying particular attention to the terms following the words “required,” “must have,” or “preferred.”
Analyze the employer’s job posting from the ground up.
If an employer states that applicants must have a specific skill set, you can be certain it is required. However, think of preferred skills as the employer's wish list. The employer would like the applicant to have the desired skills, but they are not required.
Create a two-column chart.
In the rows of the left column, list all of the required items followed by all of the preferred items. In the right column, describe how you match the employer’s requirements and preferences. If you meet 100% of the employer's requirements and meet 50% of the employer’s desired skills contained in the job posting, then you are probably a strong contender for the job. Use this intel to write a stellar cover letter.
If your skills are not an exact match, write about your transferable skills. For example, a stay-at-home parent seeking a job as a staff accountant might mention how she served as treasurer of the parent/teacher association or provided bookkeeping services from home. A schoolteacher transitioning to a position in corporate communications would want to emphasize his outstanding writing and presentation skills. A staff nurse transitioning to a nursing leadership role would want to convey her managerial strengths.
To land a great job in weeks instead of months:
Happy job hunting!
Sharla Taylor is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), Certified Career Enlightenment LinkedIn Writer (CCELW), experienced job search strategist, and published author. Sharla is the owner of Written by a Pro, a freelance writing and editing service. She approaches her business from a Christian perspective. Her favorite Scripture is Matthew 19:26 "with God all things are possible."
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Austin Farmer, graphic artist, is a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design where he majored in Industrial Design and minored in Architecture. Austin creates marketing materials for businesses and uses his artistic and musical talents to enhance the worship service at Savannah Christian Church. He also draws exquisite portraits! Austin's favorite Scripture passage is Isaiah 12:2.