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3 Ways to Focus Your Job Application

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux 

Photo from Nong V on Unsplash

Hello! So, the question that is coming up a lot is how do you know what to emphasize when you are applying for a job? There is so much that you can offer, and skills that you have, especially if it is mid-career, that it could be hard to know exactly which parts to emphasize. I have three things that I recommend.

Now, the first thing that I recommend doing is asking yourself how you can do this job. The reason why that is important is because there are usually some examples that come to mind or different skills that you have been working with using, or learning, that tell you that you can do the job as it is written in this job description. Say that, actually spell out these things that you know, that you can do the job and how you are going to approach it and spell out examples that come to mind that are going to help them understand what you are saying.

If you know that you can do the job and you do not tell them, they are just supposed to figure it out -nobody has got time for that. So do not make it that hard. 

Now, the first thing that I recommend doing is asking yourself how you can do this job. The reason why that is important is because there are usually some examples that come to mind or different skills that you have been working with using, or learning, that tell you that you can do the job as it is written in this job description. Say that, actually spell out these things that you know, that you can do the job and how you are going to approach it and spell out examples that come to mind that are going to help them understand what you are saying.

The second thing to consider when deciding on the focus for your application, and especially for preparing for interviews, is to look at the job description and identify what the pain points are if you are a problem solver (and I have seen enough resumes to know that we are all problem solvers). Figure out what the problem is. Look at the job description, and see what they are trying to solve. If you think that the problem may not be clear in that job description, look at it from the next level and think about what the problem could truly be and how you feel called to solve it, and then share those insights as part of the process in the job application or in the interview.

Photo from Andrew Neel on Unsplash

The third thing to consider when creating the focus for your job application or your set of answers for an interview is what would keep the employer in mind. Now it ties to what their pain points are, and what are the problems that they are trying to solve so that you can solve them. That could give them peace of mind, but there are different aspects. So when you think about your qualifications, and you are coming up to a role, what are the aspects that make it concerning to an employer or might make them have follow-up questions and address those?

For example, I have had on occasion, especially career changers, go for entry-level roles, but they have management in their experience. As a manager, consider how that might make you feel. If you are looking at filling an entry-level role and a manager walks up and says, I want that role, chances are you are going to think you are overqualified. You are going to be bored. You are going to leave in two weeks if not two months. So if you see that, that could be the issue that might be holding back your application, address that, network around it, and talk to people, and stakeholders on the team to get that story known. But in particular, make sure it is in your application that you address the concerns that the hiring manager might have regarding your skillset or your willingness to really, truly commit to this role.

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