As you begin your job search, you must focus on the type of job or jobs that interest you. You cannot be all things to all employers – choose the job titles that best suit your experience, skills, and knowledge.
Once you have done that, you can identify employers you wish to target. Now the research and exploration comes into play:
- Read every word of the employer’s website. Become familiar with their mission statement and their short- and long-term goals. Read the biographies of their top management. This information will help you create a resume that targets their needs.
- Identify job openings that you find interesting and that your education, skills, knowledge, and experience have prepared you for; print those job descriptions.
- Examine these job descriptions for key words and preferences. Highlight these words and phrases to make them easier to quickly incorporate into your resume.
Using what you learned during your research and exploration phase, you will now create targeted versions of your resume and cover letter for those positions. Include the key words and phrases in the bullets of your resume. But also, seek ways to include how you meet the preferences of this hiring manager.
Every job has specific requirements, but many job descriptions include the preferences that the hiring manager would like for candidates to have. If you can meet these preferences, you will be a much more appealing candidate than those applicants who demonstrate only the required abilities and skills.
If you can identify the hiring manager, you can send the resume directly to him or her. But whether you can identify the hiring manager or not, follow the application instructions. If you can’t follow instructions, hiring managers will not want you on their teams.
So you will need to upload your resume and cover letter to the company website, following the instructions for their specific applicant tracking software. Many companies have implemented procedures that no applicant can be considered without going through those steps. It may feel redundant, but follow instructions and be ready for the interview!