Use Job Postings To Your Advantage!

Many of you have already heard that 80% of job opportunities are never advertised, and are instead filled through networking.  Today, we will focus on the 20% of job (and internship) opportunities that are actually advertised, and how you can best compete for those!

Here are a few suggestions for you to use the job (or internship) posting to maximize your chances to convert your application into an interview:

  • The job posting represents the profile of the ideal candidate the company wants to hire.  The hiring manager knows that it is unlikely that he/she will find the ideal candidate.  Therefore, your job is to show how close your profile is to that of the perfect candidate described in the job posting.
  • Don’t let the job description intimidate you:  Job seekers are quite often intimidated by job descriptions and don’t apply for jobs they actually are qualified for.  As a job seeker, remember that 100% of people who get the job applied for it!  Therefore, if your profile meets most of the requirements and some of the preferences listed on the description, apply and let the hiring manager make a decision!
  • Requirements versus preferences:  Hiring managers know that they will not find a candidate with all the requirements and preferences they listed on the description.   Based on numerous conversations with recruiting managers, it is not uncommon to hear that the job description changes as they meet with candidates.  Therefore, focus on the value you can create by highlighting how much you have in common with the ideal candidate.
  • Use the job posting as your roadmap:  Your goal is to demonstrate how close your profile is to that of the ideal candidate described in the job description.  Use the keywords and skill names used in the job description to tailor your resume and your cover letter.
  • A computer will first review your application:  In the digital age, your application is likely to first be evaluated by a computer program.  The computer program will assess if your cover letter and resume match at about 60%-80% of the terms used in the job description.  If your resume and cover letter don’t meet the set criterion, your application is likely to be discarded.  Therefore, it is important to take the time to send tailored applications for your jobs of interest.  This will increase the probability of your application to be taken seriously, and to be reviewed by the hiring manager.

If you are not sure where to find internship and job opportunities that will enable you to blend financial return with social impact and environmental responsibility in the private sector, here are a few to start with:

  • Our Justmeans Job Board
  • Net Impact (membership required)
  • Lifeworth
  • Businesses for Social Responsibility (BSR) Job Board or Careers within BSR

Good luck with your job search, and as always, I look forward to reading your questions and your comments!

Photo Credit: Idx