4 Tips for Using Job Descriptions to Your Advantage.

When it is time to look for a new job or career most people will gravitate towards the classifieds. whether they are the traditional "work" section from the local paper or the pages of Monster.com, paging through the help wanted section is part of the ritual. But how many jobseekers really analyze what they see there? Not enough.

Job descriptions offer a wealth of information to the savvy job hunter. On the surface each one gives the obvious: a general job description along with the required skills and education. However, if you read a little closer you can often find more, such as the following:

  • The methods used to complete the tasks 
  • The relationship of the job to other jobs 
  • Summary of the general nature and level of the job
  •  Description of the broad function and scope of the position 
  • List of duties or tasks performed critical to success 
  • Description of the relationships and roles within the company, including supervisory positions, subordinating roles and other working relationships
So how does a jobseeker take all of this information and use it to his advantage? Here are 4 tips to get you started on the road to an interview.

Write and speak about your related performance success. In your resume, cover letter or email be sure to highlight your past performance in the specific areas mentioned in the job description.

Read in-between the the lines of the job description. There is always more there than can be picked up on in the first casual reading. Study it. What problems do they have that you can solve? Think of how your own background dovetails with those problems.

Don't stop at the job description. Applying to any new job requires research. This is true whether it is a job in your industry or not. Look up the company online and study what they do and how they do it. Between official sites, social media and blogs you can learn just about everything about a company's culture and methods in an hours worth of research. This will be an hour well spent.

Develop all kinds of proof that you have performed your job well. Today's jobseeker needs to be prepared to show, not just tell about past experiences.  Prepare an online portfolio, a robust LinkedIn profile, and a handful of strong recommendations, in addition to a targeted resume.

As a resume writer I always appreciate when a client can provide a link to the job they are trying to get because then I can tailor the resume and related documents exactly to that position. Take this professional's advice and do the same with the documents in your own jobhunter's toolbox.