Getting your dream job is a lot like those talent and singing competitions you see on TV these days – shows like The Voice or American Idol, where there can only be one winner but dozens, perhaps hundreds are in the mix.
The job search is a competition and you want to be the winner. But in order to be the winner, you need to get every possible advantage in your favor.
One of the ways you can increase your chances of landing that job is to try and put yourself in the mind of an employer. Yes, try to think like an employer.
First, ask yourself this question, “Would I hire myself?”
The answer better be yes. Of course you’d hire yourself. Why wouldn’t you? After all, you know your talents and skills better than anyone else out there. Then you look at a job posting, check over the duties and requirements and think, “I can do all of that easily” or “I have that kind of experience.”
The problem, however, is that an employer doesn’t know that about you. All that employers know about you is what you put down on a little piece of paper in resume format, perhaps a cover letter. If you land that key interview, you’re likely a stranger – a person with whom employers have never met until now. They want to get to know you and see if you match up well enough.
Why? Well, some folks say they can handle those job duties with ease. But, perhaps, they don’t have the actual relevant experience or don’t necessarily understand how to translate their experience into the skills and duties required.
That’s why thinking like an employer is so important. It all starts the moment you see a job opening.
Reading between the Lines
Job postings can be pretty straight forward. The prototypical “here’s what the job is” and “here are the requirements” you’ve gotten so used to reading since your job search started.
Stop and think about what the employer is really asking for.
Case in point, you might see a job posting for a “dynamic administrative assistant.” Well, that’s a keyword – dynamic. By definition, dynamic means “to be characterized by constant change or activity.” Translation: the employee should be able to handle a variety of ever-changing tasks in what will likely be an up-tempo work space.
Or how about this, a job description reads “the employee needs to have excellent critical thinking skills” or “excellent customer service skills.” To me, that would translate into an employee being able to think and make quick, good decisions on the fly. As far as the customer service side of things? Well, you should be likable. Especially to the company’s customers and clientele.
Simply put, going behind just the text of a job description can tell you a lot more about what an employer is seeking in its next great employee. So when you’re putting together that custom resume or getting ready for that key interview, remember what you deduced from the job posting and incorporate it into your impression.