Every hiring manager wants something. Why else would they be interviewing? Sometimes the hiring manager knows exactly what is needed and other times not. View the hiring manager as a customer needing help to achieve goals. Your objective is to find out what the hiring manager is looking for, why, and in what priority.
How do you do that? Here are some ways to find out not only the needs of the hiring manager, but to position you as one of the top candidates.
First, scrutinize the position description. Whenever a hiring manager is writing a position description, the most important items are always put at the top of the list of responsibilities. They form the primary elements that the hiring manager must have if the goals of the job are to be met. The successful candidate, therefore, has to have these elements covered. Having successful experiences in these top 5 items will almost guarantee a telephone interview screen. As the position description continues down the list, the responsibilities diminish in priority, so you need some of those experiences requested, but not all. Few, if any candidates meet all requirements.
Second, the position description will list some of the basic requirements for candidacy. Sometimes you can substitute experience for educational requirements. If they ask for a major in finance, but your major was business with 2 years experience in the accounting department, you can usually step over the requirement. If they’re looking for 10 years experience in a function but you only have 8, if the experiences are exactly what they are looking for you’ll usually make the cut. It boils down to the degree of your experiences and their degree of their flexibility.
Third, other factors on your resume may mean the difference between getting an interview or not. Having additional headings on your resume will sometimes make the difference, like: Technical Expertise (with a listing of apps, systems, tools etc.), Awards, Certifications, Leadership positions, Community Leadership, and so on. Most hiring managers want to see technology applications that they use or want to use. Make sure you list those.
Success comes from converting these key points to your resume. As an example, convert the top 5 items on the position description in a Summary of Results on top of your resume, including measurable outcomes that the interviewer will ask about. Take the requirements and other defining statements and make sure they are clearly shown in one or more of your headings: Technical Expertise, Education, Advanced Certifications, Language, Awards, etc. Parallel those additional items with the content on the position description. Most jobs will highlight added features that will position you at a higher level if you state them.
When you tailor-design your experiences on your resume to the key items on the position description for the job you really want, getting an interview is a lot easier than sending a generic resume that tries to cover everything.
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