Once you know, your career goal—or even while you are defining your career direction—you will benefit from analyzing many job descriptions for the particular position you desire. From these descriptions, you will learn how to present your skills and experience using the language that applies to your particular career. This is the language you will rely on to craft your resume, cover letter, and interview responses. You will also discover any gaps in your education, such as certifications or technical skills.
Analyzing job descriptions for your chosen career is one of the most widely ignored and critically important steps to achieving top-level positions.
Once you’ve decided to apply to two or three positions, your resume, cover letter, and interview preparation should be tailored to that position.
Part of this exercise involves doing a phrase-by-phrase dissection of relevant job descriptions, which, incidentally, might differ considerably from the abbreviated job advertisements that businesses often post online.
Your goal is to use the language and skills sought in these jobs descriptions to craft the bullet points on your resume and the text of your cover letter. Be honest, but do everything you can to make it look as if you have lived and breathed up until this very moment in order to fill the position for which you are applying. Highlight accomplishments relevant to your target job. Delete whatever you think a prospective employer would find irrelevant or inconsequential in the job for which you are applying.
Some excellent resources for looking up career descriptions include:
- Indeed.com™, a search engine that aggregates jobs from thousands of Web sites through a single interface. Free to job seekers.
- CareerBuilder.com™, a national jobs Web site which claims 1.6M jobs. Free to job seekers.
- 6FigureJobs™, a national site, which is likely to have 75-100 executive positions for cities such as Minneapolis/St. Paul. Free to job seekers.
- LinkedIn.com®, a professional social networking site that lists its own jobs as well as those on SimplyHired®. This site integrates your social network with your job search to tell you who you know at a hiring company and who you know that knows the hiring manager for a particular position. Free to job seekers.
- TheLadders® is used by a number of executives for career search but job seekers have mixed opinions about whether the site is worth its $30 monthly charge.
- Executive and other recruiters. You can find recruiters at www.onlinerecruitersdirectory.com, www.searchfirm.com, and www.i-recruit.com. (You can also find local recruiters and specific types of businesses by using a keyword search at Superpages.com, www.superpages.com).
- Monster® tends to be a waste of time for most business leaders, although any site can be helpful on occasion.