The Effective Job Search: Think Like an Employer

by Sharon O’Toole, Workforce Consultant, Canyon County

If you are like most job seekers, the whole hiring process can be confusing. When you are looking for a job, the most valuable thing you can know is what really works. Start by trying to look at the hiring process from the hiring manager’s perspective as they review resumes:

Will this applicant meet my needs?

What the manager needs to know the most is whether or not you have the skills and knowledge to do the job effectively. If your resume is not targeted specifically to the position you seek, you skills may seem  unrelated. If the employer is hiring a plumber, being an electrician, no matter how skilled, won’t do. If a salesperson is needed, the employer will not be interested in a secretary. That’s why it’s so important to identify and feature transferable skills. Carefully select skills and accomplishments from your list that speak directly to your ability to do the job.

Will this person stay and work for an extended period of time?

For every company, the hiring process is costly and time consuming.

Hiring managers try to make a reasonable judgement about whether or not you will stay with the company for an extended period. They look for a stable work history and evidence you have a level of commitment to your profession. If you job-hop, consider a functional resume that focuses more on your skills and accomplishments. Be ready to answer questions regarding your work history in an interview. Good indicators that you have a strong interest in your profession are active participation in associations or groups related to your occupation, certifications and continued education in your field. Be sure to include these items on your resume.

Does this person exhibit the characteristics of a  professional?

Hiring managers want to know if you are reliable, if you pay attention to details, if you deal with situations calmly and politely and, in general, are a good team member. All they have are your written communications, your resume, cover letter and/or your application to use to try and discern these characteristics.

If they see the skills and accomplishment that impress them and if your documents reflect intelligence, they’ll read through to spot any errors. They will consider whether or not you follow directions, whether your application is complete and whether the messages your documents are clear and understandable.

In any event, your resume, cover letter and documentation still provide the best chance you have to communicate your skill and professionalism to an employer and, hopefully, be called in for an interview. So make sure your resume is firmly targeted to the job you seek.