Who’s the Boss? Why You Should Conduct an Employer-Centric Job Search

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CTU Tips for Success - Employer-Centric Job SearchAt the forefront of a job candidate’s mind are often the things he or she hopes to obtain – a good salary, exciting responsibilities or perhaps a flexible schedule. While it is good to know your priorities as you go through the hiring process, it is equally important to realize that making you happy is not an employer’s main concern. A hirer’s goal is to find the best person possible to fill a position, and your priority should be to convince those with decision-making power that the right person is you. To do this, you’ll need to put your agenda on the backburner and concentrate on the employer’s needs.

Speak Their Language

In today’s competitive market, a generic résumé is destined for the garbage can. Get your application noticed from the start by submitting material that demonstrates your interest in this particular position, not just any job. Read the job posting carefully, and think about how you can mirror its language in your cover letter and résumé.

“By mapping your skills and experiences to the company's needs, you are immediately illustrating the value you can deliver in the role,” says résumé writer and career consultant Tiffani Murray of “This does not mean replacing the bullet points of your résumé with the points in the job description, but make sure that the content in your résumé or on the application addresses the required skills and experiences mentioned in the job listing.”

For example, if the role requires someone with experience managing teams of five or more people, specifically state the number of staff members you oversaw at previous jobs. If an ad lists desired technological proficiencies, elaborate on your usage of these computer systems. Because you need to customize both the cover letter and résumé for each job for which you apply, you will likely end up with multiple versions of each. The differences between these versions might be subtle, but they can make a big difference to the hiring manager reviewing your application. Save yourself time by saving each version with the job title and date in the file name so you can refer to it when applying to similar positions or when preparing for an interview.

Get to Know the Company

To further demonstrate that you have the employer’s needs in mind, do some homework. Start with the firm’s website to read about its history, mission and latest projects. Discovering that the company is working hard to branch into global markets may lead you to emphasize your time studying abroad or your ability to speak a second language. If community outreach seems to be valued, discussing your volunteer experience might be appropriate.

It also can pay to research the company online and look at its social-media presence. What images and messages does the employer try to convey, and how might you fit into that picture? Has the company been in the news? If it recently won an award for customer service, you might want to highlight your own excellence in that area.

Connect the Dots

When your employer-centric application lands you an interview, be ready to prove that you are what the company needs. Refer to how your work can drive impactful changes in the organization, whether that is by reducing cost, discovering process improvements or completing essential tasks. Always map your skills and experiences back to how they will advance the company.

Murray notes that the interview is often an ideal time to point out items you discovered on the company’s website in terms of goals and initiatives and relate those needs back to your core strengths. One strategy for doing this might be to bring in a chart or document that illustrates how you would tackle some of the top issues facing the organization.

“For example, if you know that they are seeking to improve their marketing strategy, discuss ideas you might have to help. You don't have to provide a detailed plan, but discuss at a high level how you might go about making positive improvements,” Murray says.

You can also be more direct about your research and mention that you visited the company’s website to learn more about the organization. Not only does it indicate that you did your due diligence before walking into the interview, but it can also serve as a nice segue for showing how interested you are in working for this specific company. You can explain that you were impressed by the company’s mission statement, for instance, or excited about its most recent philanthropic efforts.

While showing that you did your homework can be impressive, demonstrating an eagerness to learn even more can seal the deal. Pose thoughtful questions such as:

  • “What do you want the person you hire to accomplish within his/her first 30 days?”
  • “What do you expect the top three priorities to be for the person who fills this role?”
  • “What have been some of the biggest achievements and mistakes performed in this role so far?”

Listen carefully to the responses. They may get at what the employer truly wants from a new hire, and this additional insight may help you showcase the attributes the company finds most desirable. Plus, listening expresses respect and concern for the other party. And when the interviewers feel that you are taking their needs seriously, the next step just might be showing an interest in yours.

Image Credit: Francois Peladeau