For every open position to be filled there’s a need or a hole that a hiring manager has to plug. Certain skills and experiences are required to fill the hole. That hole is described in the posted position description. That’s your insight into the mind of the hiring manager.
When a hiring manager is putting together a position description, usually the top five items listed are the ones you should pay the most attention. They define the biggest needs of the hiring manager.
Many job seekers write their resumes as if the open position must be modified to fit the applicant’s skills and experiences and not the other way around. These are the applicants that get eliminated early in the process. Your objective is to fit the needs of the hiring organization and fill the hole in a way that increases your chances of being hired. How do you do that? Here are four steps to fulfill the needs of an open position and become the primary candidate.
- Define the one or two things that you do better than most everyone else that set you apart from the pack. It differentiates you from your peers. Then translate those attributes into potential value for a future organization: What do you have that they need? If you can’t define why you’re the greatest, no one else will be able to either.
- Target the jobs and organizations that are specifically looking for those skills and experiences. Not every organization is looking for the attributes in which you excel. The special capabilities you have need to meet the “holes” that the hiring manager is looking to fill. You’ll know it when you see it. Others may be able to replicate parts of your background, but only you can match the two or three items that can’t be duplicated? They are your ticket to the future.
- Focus both your resume and interview on the five top items on the position description. When writing your resume, make sure your fields of expertise are prominently placed in the top half of the first page of your resume. Include measurable results if you know them. Hiring managers are impressed with candidates who can quantify their results. When interviewing, always keep in mind those top 5 items from the position description. All other factors are either secondary or will be covered on your resume, like education, job history and the like.
- Your references are important when its time for them to sing your praises. Prepare a checklist of the major accomplishments that parallel what the hiring organization is looking to fill. When your references understand the key requirements of the hiring organization, they can toot your horn about past performances as an objective third party. Use them to your advantage.
If you can’t demonstrate your ability to fill the hole a hiring manager is looking to fill, you’ll always be a runner-up, but never the winner.
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