Reading Recruitment Ads  101

You are an enthusiastic job seeker.  I am an employer who needs to fill a job.  So far so good.  But here’s the rub – do your education, skills and experience match what I need?

Sounds easy to figure out but experience shows me that’s not always the case.  We seem to get into trouble somewhere in the translation between reality and desire.

Subjectively Reading the Job Ad

Job ads do a couple of things.  First, they define the job and what the employer is looking for in terms of skills, experience, etc.  Second, they allow you, the job seeker, to reflect on how closely you match the job requirements and self select in, or out.

However, you like the sound of the job, you’ve heard this is a good employer, maybe they’re very handy in terms of location, and the salary is attractive.  Suddenly the ability to be self-assessing and realistic becomes clouded by what’s in it for you as opposed to what’s in it for the employer.  Yin needs yang because they are interdependent and inter-related.  If both aren’t in harmony it won’t happen.

Before submitting your resume put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes.  Based on your experience and what the job ad calls for, would you really hire you, or would you be looking for someone more closely matched to the position?  Remember, most recruiters operate on the understanding that past experience, results, behaviour, etc., are the best predictor of future success.  If you haven’t actually done the work at, or at least close to, the level of accomplishment required in the job ad then you’re likely engaging in an exercise in futility.

Assuming The Neat But Totally Unrelated Things You’ve Done Will Make A Difference

You’re a person of value and you’ve had some great experiences in your career.  The catch is they don’t directly relate to the job you’re applying for.  Great as they may be, those experiences will not get you an interview if the recruiter can’t draw a clear and direct line of sight between what you’ve done and the available job.

The More Jobs I Apply For The More Likely l am To Get A Job

Getting your resume out there is very important, but papering the town randomly isn’t going to get you what you want.  Be aggressive, yes.  But sending your resume out to jobs that don’t match your qualifications and experience simply make you look silly.  Sorry to be blunt, but it’s for your own good.  This is not the impression you want to make when you’re job hunting.   

Maybe No One Qualified Will Apply and I’ll Get the Job

Often expressed by job hunters who ask me how many people applied for the job.  My answer is always “It really doesn’t matter.  If a thousand people applied and you’re the right one you’ll get the job, and if no one else applied but you’re not the right person for the job you won’t get it.”  Very few employers work on an “any warm body will do” approach and are quite prepared to wait for the right person.  As recruiters we’ve all learned the hard lesson of hiring in haste and just being there and willing won’t get you the job.

If I Send In My Resume For This Job Maybe They’ll Consider Me For Other Jobs

Now, if you’re thinking that sending in your resume will at least get it read and position you for other opportunities that may be available now or in the future that’s good thinking.  But try this ... Instead of sending your resume as an applicant for a job you don’t qualify for, send it in and say something like “I see you’re recruiting for an Under Water Basket Weaver.  I don’t have the experience needed to qualify for that position; however, I have experience in these areas that might support other related work.  If you’re hiring other positions in the future I would appreciate hearing from you.”  This makes you sound like a sensible person to me and someone I’m likely to remember  - for the right reasons!

I know the job market is tough right now, but all the more reason to present yourself as someone who understands their value to an organization.  After all, if you're prepared to engage in pointless job searches, what does that say about how you'll use your time and company resources if I hire you?


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