Breaking Down Job Descriptions
One of the most important things when submitting your resume is to ensure that you include the relevant keywords in your resume to match the job descriptions that you are applying for. The best method to do this is to first narrow your focus to jobs that you are most qualified for. Ideally, you want your resume to match at least 70% of the required skills/experience posted. Focusing on a specific job title or position will be far more powerful than applying for multiple types of positions that you may partially qualify for.
CareerBuilder (2016) conducted a study and showed that the number #1 thing they want to see from candidates are resumes that are tailored to the open position. Hence, you want your resume to be tailored to a specific job title. If you must apply for more than one specific job title, it is better to create several resumes that are custom tailored to each position versus trying to have a “one size fits all” approach.
The first step in breaking down job descriptions is to gather about a half-dozen or so job postings for the primary job title. This information can be collected from career sites, job boards, LinkedIn, or wherever jobs are listed. You want to scrutinize all the job descriptions to gain a strong understanding of exactly what the employers are looking for. Identify what requirements/keywords are consistent among all six job descriptions. This is an essential requirement and it is absolutely necessary that your resume reflects the requirements/keywords that are most commonly mentioned in the job descriptions. Continue identifying the common requirements/keywords that are consistent among more than one or two job postings, working your way through the job descriptions.
Next, you want list specific examples of how you deliver on the requirements of the job listings. A powerful resume will not only pull up through the ATS from the requirements/keywords matched but will describe exactly how the candidate incorporated the requirements/keywords from their experience. Remember, a resume is simply a marketing document designed to get you an interview. The strongest resumes will include keywords, how the candidate incorporated the requirements/keywords in from their experience, and clearly identify a candidate’s achievements and value that they’ve added.
Finally, your resume should include a concise professional summary that immediately gives an employer a strong impression of why you are the best candidate for the position. The professional summary is a good place to effectively incorporate the job description keywords listed in the announcement. You should have a thorough understanding of exactly what the employer is looking for. One way to do this is by putting yourself on the other side of the desk and imagine that you are the hiring manager. Ask yourself what the perfect candidate would look like and compare your resume to the answer.
Breaking down job descriptions to ensure your resume matches the relevant requirements/keywords will nearly guarantee that your resume will be seen by a decision maker who pulls up resumes through their applicant tracking systems. Remember, the strongest resumes will include keywords, how the candidate incorporated the requirements/keywords in from their experience, and clearly identify a candidate’s achievements and value that they’ve added.