Start Thinking Like an Employer
Self Assessment: Defining the Market Product
More Power to Your Skills

Start Thinking Like an Employer

As a job seeker, you will be successful if you take on the role of a sales person. Your task is to know as much as possible about the product you are selling (your skills and abilities) and the markets you are trying to reach (specific industries and employers). This means developing a marketing strategy. To do this, begin with a self assessment. You must identify what you have to offer and then package it for employers. Once you have identified your skills, abilities, and accomplishments, you must identify the industries you are interested in and target specific employers within those industries.

Examples

Industry:ElectricalIndustry:Technical
Position:AssemblerPosition:Assembler
Employers:ABC Company Profit Corp.Employers:Bopre & Sons Tools Inc.

Resumes that are tailored to specific industries, employers, and job announcements are the most effective. In targeting your resume and cover letter to a particular company and job opening, your format and language need to be tailored to match what the employer is looking for. Employers will be more likely to call you for an interview if your resume has language that is familiar to them and lists the qualifications for which they are looking. You can ensure this by paying close attention to adjectives and phrases (buzz words) used in job postings and advertisements.

Tailoring your resume allows you to make a stronger presentation of your skills, qualifications, and accomplishments by selecting those work experiences that are relevant to the employer who is reading your resume. An employer reading a resume that has been tailored to his or her industry/company/position, feels a familiarity with the resume and the person who sent it because it looks and reads like those of people who currently work in that company.

Employer Viewpoint"In our business, we look at the resume for the following things in this order: relevant experience and education, truth in advertising, and personal qualities (to the extent that we can judge from the resume), such as competence, maturity, enthusiasm, positive attitude, and likability."

Dr. Jerrold Shapiro, Ophthalmology Program Manager, Candella Laser Corporation

Self Assessment: Defining the Market Product

This section will help you begin the process of identifying your skills and abilities that you will market to employers. After completing this step by step self assessment, you will have enough information to include in the resume format of your choice. The self assessment process is designed to assist you in identifying skills, abilities, and accomplishments. You will conduct a complete review of your experience by listing your work history, identifying your accomplishments, and defining your skills.

1. List your places of employment, military experience, and major volunteer work. Include names and addresses of each organization beginning and ending dates, and positions held.

If you worked in the same company and held more than one position, it is not necessary to repeat this step for each position.

2. State your duties and functions by writing down your major responsibilities and how you spent your time. Consider the skills you used, knowledge you needed, equipment utilized, etc. Write down your biggest accomplishments, projects, and assignments.

More Power to Your Skills

There are two types of skills that employers look for: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are those skills that are usually written on a resume, such as computer languages, typing speeds, years of management and tools utilized. Soft skills are those skills that are conveyed as a result of your accomplishments. Examples of this type of skill are communication and interpersonal skills, and motivation levels. To be effective, soft skills should be tied into accomplishment statements. The key to marketing your hard and soft skills successfully is developing effective accomplishment statements.

Writing accomplishment statements can make people feel like they are bragging. However, writing them can be effective without turning the employer off by being boastful. Employers like to have skills and experience written in a straightforward manner, without exaggeration. It is important to select accomplishment statements that are relevant to the position you want. Tailor your accomplishment statements to match the qualifications that the employer wants. Every person who has held a position, whether paid or volunteer, has accomplishments. Even if your task was repetitive and routine, you have had accomplishments! Use specific examples when you describe your skills-ones that you are proficient in and are proud of. By doing so, you will be seen as confident and motivated.

Volunteer work can be utilized, when necessary, on a resume. It is important to remember that the work must be relevant to the job you are interested in. Be sure to develop accomplishment statements that reflect your skills and qualifications. In the cover letter you may mention that it is volunteer work or you may mention it in the resume by putting volunteer work in parentheses, after the employer name.

If your volunteer or community service work is extensive, be sure to include the scope of the project, your responsibilities, skills you utilized to implement the project and the result. List the experience in chronological format. It is usually not a good idea to list political or religious organizations in a resume unless you are applying for a job in this type of area.

Be sure to mention the "soft skills" that you have utilized. For example, motivational level, dependability, energy level and punctuality. You can weave a personal motivation statement or desire to work statement into a cover letter. However, illustrating soft skills is most effective when they are tied into accomplishment statements.

Below are some questions that may assist you in developing effective accomplishment statements.

  • Did you introduce a new system? Procedure?
  • How did you save the organization money?
  • Did you increase production? Improve morale? By how much?
  • Did you develop new techniques for getting the job done faster?
  • Did you improve the quality of a product or service?
  • Did you enhance the life of an individual?
  • Did you increase someone's daily living skills?

There are numerous positions where workers deal directly with and for people - teachers, social workers, nursing, etc.- and their accomplishments and/or results are often not quantifiably measurable.