Writing job descriptions and job postings is not an exact science. There are training courses, research and studies that define necessary steps and elements of writing an effective job description. Then there is the marketing spin that is incorporated in writing the posting to make the company and position sound attractive.
Do Employers Know What They Are Looking For?
The critical element in writing the posting is based on the employer knowing what they are really looking for. Do they?
Do they say, “I want to hire someone just like the last person who was in this job, only better”.
Or maybe they say “Why don’t we create a wish list of what we would like and see what we get”.
Or they might even say, “We’ll just write this posting based on the background and experience of Sally, who we’ll be promoting into the job.”
Why is this important to you?
When writing your resume, I recommend using the job posting as a guide for what to say and the key words to use. However, it is important to remember that the employer might not always know what they are exactly looking for. You may not have all the key words or skills they are asking for, apply anyway. If you have 50+% of what the job is asking for- apply.
Networking Sheds Light
Also bear in mind, that the employer may not have listed skills in the posting that are important to the job. We can’t know this unless we have inside information about the company. This is why networking with company insiders is so incredibly valuable. You may be able to uncover skills or a problem that wasn’t addressed in the job posting.
The process of hiring is extremely risky and extremely personal. The resume needs to present you both as a sure-fire solution to their problems (skills and accomplishments) as well as someone who is easy to like and get along with (traits).
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.