Analyzing job adverts to ensure job hunting success

Responding to the right job adverts is crucial if you want to succeed at job hunting.

It’s always a waste of time to send out as many job applications as possible. You need to be more targeted in your approach and analyzing job adverts is a way of identifying the jobs that are really worth applying for.

Before you even start looking at job adverts as part of your job search, analyze your own experience, knowledge and skills. Ensure you tick the boxes in terms of what the employer is looking for. You should also aim to pick out keywords and phrases in job adverts and use them in your resume and cover letter.

Make a note of the skills they are asking for and the nature of the company. For example, a company may be described as ‘fast paced’, which means they need someone good at handling pressure and working to deadlines. Ultimately, you need to fit into the company and their values. Also, even if you only have 90% of the attributes they’re looking for, be clear on your potential and perhaps use experiences outside of work to demonstrate that you have everything they want.

Remember that it’s usually wise to apply for jobs that are the next level up in terms of seniority, unless you have a solid case to make about your ability to perform in a much more senior position.

You can use LinkedIn to obtain an insight into the skills and responsibilities of professionals who are doing the job you’re applying for. It may also be wise to speak to someone doing the job to gain a real insight that will place you ahead of your competition.

Following these tips and analyze job adverts, whilst comparing them against your abilities. It’s a sure-fire way to ensure you won’t be wasting anyone’s time by applying for the role.


Writing a high impact executive resume

To write a high impact executive resume, you must identify the key messages you wish to convey in advance and write your resume once your message in a clear and well-presented manner. Here’s how to write an impressive, high impact resume:

Use the right language
Try to convey leadership skills, behaviors, strategic thinking or other business skills when describing the achievements you have accrued throughout your career. Steer clear of examples of working under pressure or leading a team, which should be a given from someone of your caliber.

Use the right format
Use a clear, easy to read format and font. Remember that Arial and Times New Roman are favored. The most common file format is Microsoft Word.

Format is important
The best place for your personal information is the upper right hand corner. Use a personal email address rather than a work address too. Make the file name for your resume sensible too. Remember, at this stage, the smallest of details matter and help create a good impression.

Write a professional summary
Your professional summary will be noticed as it’s on the first half of the first page, so make sure it’s well written. Focus on your experience, knowledge and the skills you have acquired that set you apart from other executives.

Always put your experience in context too throughout your resume, explaining which skills and achievements apply to which job role. Focus on the past 3-5 years and use the second page to explain your experience and education in briefer detail. Ensure that you cover all of your education and work experience though, so there are no obvious gaps.

Be brief when describing education and training
Space on a resume is very valuable and is in short supply, so keep the details of your training and education brief. If you have attended a negotiation skills seminar, explain how you use negotiation in the workplace instead.

Alternatively, consider deploying the skills of executive resume writers. The Resume Center uses the services of professional resume writers, to give your resume the professional touch.


Avoiding cover letter mistakes

With a cover letter, you will undoubtedly want to stand out from the crowd and make your ‘sales pitch’ to a potential employer. A cover letter is an extremely important tool in the job searching process and if written and targeted correctly, it should achieve its objective of enticing the reader to look at your resume.

Make sure that your cover letter and resume is given serious attention. Here are the mistakes you will need to avoid to make sure your letter hits the mark:

Forgetting to check your letter before sending
In order to make the right impression, your letter should have no spelling or grammatical errors. A letter with errors is likely to be instantly disregarded.

Being unoriginal
Put a little of your personality into your cover letter and ensure it doesn’t sound like someone else’s words.

Addressing the letter incorrectly
Use your initiative to find out who it is you need to be addressing the letter to, including their name and job title. Doing so will portray the right professional touch.

Forgetting to research
It’s important to target your cover letter to the job in question and the company. Your cover letter should demonstrate some basic understanding of the company, what they do and the industry in general.

Lacking professionalism
Don’t always refer to ‘I’ and your own wants. What can you offer the company? Which objectives can you help them achieve? Keep the tone of your letter professional.

Making the letter too long
Your letter needs to be structured with short paragraphs and overall, should not be longer than one page. The letter should also be presented neatly and legibly on high quality white paper if printed.

Enclosing a photo
An employer will see what you look like at an interview, so a photo is not necessary at the initial stage. The exception is if you’re going for acting or modelling roles.

Not asking for an interview
Don’t forget to let the employer know that you want an interview and that you will be following up the cover letter with further communication.

How to make your resume stand out

If you’ve identified a job you want to go for and need to brush up on your resume, the most difficult aspect of this is making yourself relevant for the role to secure an interview.

To make your resume to stand out, these are the basics to cover:

Check for errors – Recruiters hate poor spelling and grammar! Use spell check and proof-read your resume each time you amend it. You could even ask a friend to check for you. Alternatively, use a resume writing company such as The Resume Center who work with professional resume writers.

Read the job description – Make sure you read a job description thoroughly and don’t just glance at it. You need to be confident that you can fulfil the requirements of the position to ensure success. Use your resume and cover letter to demonstrate that the perfect candidate for the position is you.

Tailor your resume – Ideally, you should have a different version of your resume and cover letter to match the multiple positions and industries you are targeting. If you research the company, industry and competitors, you can effectively target your cover letter and fully explain your suitability. The extra effort will be worth it.

Use specific keywords – Include the keywords in your resume that relate to the types of positions you’re looking for and use the correct industry terminology. Recruiters often use job sites and search for resumes that contain specific keywords.

Use examples – If you are selling a particular strength of yours, always back it up with an example. It’s easy to say you’re good at something but it won’t come across as sincere or valid if you don’t back your statements up with examples.

Great resume writing is a real skill that takes time and effort. So, whether you want to improve your own resume writing skills or if you want to leave it to the professional resume writers, ensure that you would be proud to present your resume to any prospective employer.


What not to include in your resume

As well as knowing what comprises a good resume, it’s just as useful to know what not to include, in order to avoid resume writing mistakes.

Remember to steer clear of the following:

Personal, crazy personal objectives
You may be extremely business savvy or ambitious as an individual but an objective such as ‘being the next Steve Jobs’ just won’t sit right with many employers.

Irrelevant experience
Take out your older jobs or positions that simply don’t relate to the type of job you’re applying for.

Irrelevant achievements
The achievements included in your resume should be related to education, volunteering or your professional life only.

Including photos
Unless you’re an actor or a model, your physical characteristics shouldn’t be relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Hobbies can be included but keep the details to a minimum. Listing reading, gardening or playing tennis is enough.

Private information
Information on your sexual orientation, marital status, children, age, religious or political affiliations is not necessary for a resume. Be aware of identity theft and ensure personal information such as your social security number isn’t included either.

Personal email address
Keep your contact details professional and don’t use a personal email account used to email your friends. An employer doesn’t need to know about that crazy school nickname you were given!

Attention-getting tactics
Avoid different font types, colored ink, bright colored paper or anything that makes your resume stand out in the wrong way. Keep the format traditional to be safe. Use good quality white paper with a legible font and clear layout.

Avoid these mistakes to make the right impression, as only a great resume can help you get your foot through the door.