As a job-seeker, one of our biggest pitfalls is failing to align ourselves properly with the position. Simply put, we use our language and not their language, otherwise known as the wording used within the job description. Your accomplishments and job experiences may fulfill all they are asking for and then some, but if you fail to communicate it in the organization’s words, your cover letter and resume are likely to get tossed aside and overlooked.
How to properly align your cover letter and resume with the job description.
- Read it. It may sound basic, but so many people don’t truly read. As you read it, highlight key responsibilities or recurring elements throughout the description. These are “their words” or the phrases that you need to use in your cover letter and resume.
- Next, tweak your cover letter and resume to include those critical elements. Use your existing accomplishments to support their words. Often it helps to use their language as headers and even bold them, creating a bulleted list of your accomplishments beneath it. Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to see you are aligned perfectly for the position, even if you do not have the typical background.
- Also important is to close your cover letter with a short paragraph showing you identify with the mission and culture of the organization. You may or may not be able to glean this from the job description. If you can’t, do further research online and through your own network connections.
Aligning yourself with the job description may give you the edge you are looking for, effectively separating yourself from the competition. It also sends the message to the hiring manager that you have given their position thoughtful consideration by taking the time to cater to their organization specifically. You can bet this personal touch is noted and appreciated.