EVENTS & INSIGHTS / INSIGHT

When writing your resume, don’t miss your target

by Shannon Houde

Recently I explained why your CV should be all about the market: appealing to the market, meeting the market’s needs, using the market’s language, communicating what the market wants to hear. Now, I’m going to help you take a deep, analytical dive into the job description to figure out what the market really wants and tailor your resume to nail it.

It is absolutely crucial to translate your skill set to the job you’re applying for. A hiring manager will spend 30 seconds reading a CV, so if you want to impress and get yours on the ‘A-List’, think like a salesperson and put the good stuff front row, centre. In my experience, the easiest way to do this is through what I call ‘Mapping Your Skills to the Market’: a process I developed to help clients and readers to make their skills and experience relevant to the job description. Here’s how to do it.

Map Your Skills 1) Translate the job description

The best way to get to grips with a job description is to set about translating it into bite-size chunks of role requirements — streamlining and editing at its best. Cut out all of the repetitive fluff and confusion in the job spec. Copy and paste the essential criteria and the desirable criteria (along with any other nuggets you may find) into Word Doc bullet points, leave the rest behind, and proceed to step two below.

DON'T MISS OUT
ON MORE FREE TIPS

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Sign up

Map Your Skills 2) Get thematic

Take your bulleted list of key points and copy and paste each of their requirements under the headings of skills, values, traits or knowledge/issues. Under each heading, try to collapse their criteria and identify the main themes, for example: communications, strategy, impact measurement, fundraising, etc.

Look at the key words that re-occur most often — these are likely to be the most important. If they mention project management six times, that will give you a major hint!

Map Your Skills 3) Look for the grey area

Now that you’ve stripped it back to the bare bones and got some thematic order on things, you can start to mapyour skills to the role — bullet point by bullet point – and see how you match up. But don’t panic if you feel you’re coming up short: While a job description will contain well-defined role requirements, the parameters for meeting them are not always so well-defined.

This is where relevant versus literal translations of job descriptions come in, basically the idea that even if you haven’t done that specific thing, you might still have had exposure to it or have transferrable skills. Here’s an example: A role requires experience developing policies. You haven’t done that, but maybe you have exposure to the policy debate and current legislation, maybe you’ve engaged in that debate through social media or NGO affiliations, perhaps even written a blog about it. These things might not sound like much, but to a hiring manager, they show relevant exposure to a key job requirement, and that’s useful.

Map Your Skills 4) Sanity check

Now that you’ve broken down the job description, identified the key themes and matched up your relevant and literal skills, you’re probably feeling one of two things: a) satisfied and confident that you have what it takes to go for and potentially win this role (but make sure it is not below you), or b) slightly nauseous as you peer into the deep ravine that is your skills gap. If it’s the latter, take heart – at least you know early, and you’ve constructively identified the areas you need to work on before going for another role like this one.

If it’s the former, it’s time to dig out your old CV and move on to the next phase of the application process — the writing, or spinning I sometimes call it – where all the hard work of mapping your skills will really pay off. If it’s the latter, make sure you have made an effort to translate tangible achievements that may fit to what they are looking for before you throw in the towel. Third-party perspective on this can really help so reach out to your trusted advisors.

Follow me on Twitter @walkoflifecoach to stay in the loop.

Photo credit: 15299 via Pixabay

comments

You may also like...

A Deep Dive Into Sustainability Careers

Careers in sustainability are increasing in demand but how do you break into this highly competitive market? What are companies looking for in employees and how do you set yourself apart? Whether you are new to sustainability, a recent graduate, looking to make a career change, or looking to advance your current career in sustainability, this discussion hosted by Net Impact Amsterdam is for you.  DON’T MISS OUTON MORE FREE TIPS Sign Up For Our Newsletter Sign up  

By Shannon Houde
6 reasons why it’s ok to hate networking

It might be billed as one of the best ways to get ahead but in reality, relentless networkers end up making more enemies than friends. Is there anything worse than that person who LOVES networking? We’ve all met them. There you are standing at a conference minding your own business when they barrel in, reel off their resume, drop a few high powered names and thrust a business card (“it’s new, embossed, cost a fortune”) into your hand. DON’T MISS

By Shannon Houde
How ESG issues can become even more relevant in times of market crisis

As a Brit based in Santa Monica, California, Daniel E. Ingram is the chair of investment advisory company Wilshire’s ESG and Diversity Committee. Wilshire, which has more than $72 billion in assets under management and $1 trillion in assets under advisement, recruited Ingram in 2017 as part of an effort to expand its ESG and socially responsible investing capabilities. Previously, Ingram was head of responsible investing for BT Pension Scheme, the United Kingdom’s largest corporate retirement plan. Ingram is also

By Shannon Houde
Finding a Job with Purpose Amid the COVID-19 Crisis

Finding a job in sustainability or social impact wasn’t easy even before COVID-19 blindsided and bludgeoned the global economy. This will only get harder as the world economy continues to struggle, but be confident that it will eventually rebound. In spite of the pandemic, now is still a great time to get yourself familiar with the landscape and begin to position yourself and start to make plan for your career in the impact space. Policymakers are calling for the COVID-19 economic recovery

By Shannon Houde

NEED SOME SUPPORT?

Book a 30-minute trial session with Shannon

BOOK A TRIAL