If you’ve spent any length of time reading through career advice during your job search, you will no doubt have come across multiple implorations, including from yours truly, to tailor each of your job applications to the specific role you are applying for. Although identifying keywords in the job description and interspersing them sparingly throughout your CV and Cover Letter is a good start – and will put you ahead of a lot of the other applicants – there is more you can do to ensure that you are using the job description to your advantage.
Use tailored bullet points
Again, if you have been reading through career advice to give you that extra edge in your job search, then you will be aware that your CV has very little time to catch the attention of recruiters, only 6 seconds in fact. That is why using bullet points to highlight your achievements in past roles is encouraged, it is a good way to highlight important points, and direct recruiters’ attentions.
Bullet points are also an area of your CV where the job description can come in handy. By reading through, and understanding exactly what the company is looking for, you can order your bullet points in a way that puts the most relevant to the description front and centre. Doing so will not only draw the recruiter’s attention, but hopefully keep them reading.
Make the most of your cover letter
Highlighting your experience in a cover letter is important, although maybe not in the way you think. Many applicants make the mistake of describing their experience, when instead, they should be highlighting how what they learned, and achieved, is relevant to the position at hand.
This is another area of your application where the job description can come into play. By selecting two or three requirements, skills, or tasks mentioned in the description, and then highlighting how your past experience relates to these, you will show an understanding of what the company is looking for, whilst proving that you have what is necessary to fill said void.
Read between the lines
So far making the most of the job description has been related to picking out keywords and associating your application with them, thus showing recruiters that you can provide the qualities they are looking for. To go that step further however, you may need to dig a little deeper, and gain a complete understanding of what it is a company is looking for in an employee for this role.
As an example, although the job description may be for a Content Creator, the company might be more interested in the marketing skills such a hire could bring to the table in promoting said content, and increasing brand exposure, and/or audience numbers. A vacancy for Sales Personnel could be geared towards client acquisition, or retention of existing customers. By reading the job description thoroughly, doing some research, and understanding exactly what it is the company is looking for, your application will have a greater likelihood of success.
Candidates often take the information in a vacancy’s job description for granted, but if you know what to look for, and how to use the information to your advantage, you can put yourself ahead of other applicants, and greatly increase your prospects of being called for an interview.