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Matching Your Qualifications With Their Needs

The number of resumes received by employers continues to be overwhelming as the job market begins to pick up this year. The challenge for you, as a job seeker, is to get your cover letter/resume noticed - to stand out from the crowd. More and more candidates are using a cover letter/resume that demonstrates the match between the employer's requirements (Your Needs) and the skills and experience that they have to offer (My Qualifications).

An example of this type of cover letter/resume is shown below. For some candidates this can be a very effective tool.

Your Needs: Marketing experience
My Qualifications:

Your Needs: Product Management experience
My Qualifications:

Your Needs: Analytical abilities
My Qualifications:

Your Needs: Interpersonal Skills
My Qualifications:

The more technically able you are the more creative you can be with boxes and grids.

Even if you decide not to use this type of document, this exercise will help you familiarize yourself with how close a match you are for the position you are applying for. A few steps will make it an easy task that can serve you well in the long run.

Begin by reading the ads/postings carefully. Notice that there are some of the same words included in every ad for your type of job. An example would be ads for an Executive Secretary where the word confidentiality appears consistently. If you were applying for that particular position you would want to include the word confidential in your resume and cover letter and show how you have used that skill in past jobs. These words are called the key factors or the key competencies required to do the job.

(Your Needs) By reading job postings carefully and looking for the words that are repeated or stand out as being the most important factors to perform the job you will become familiar with the company or industry jargon used and what skills are being sought for the type of jobs you are seeking.

Practice identifying key factors in job postings or ads that are of interest to you. Go through postings or ads and use a highlighter to mark words as you read. What are the common words used in almost every description? What they are looking for? What are the qualifications listed? How do your skills match up against their requirements? Make a list of the key words and requirements to use in your cover letter/resume.

Next, make a template for your new cover letter/resume. On one side of the template type in Your Needs. On the other side type My Qualifications. Use this template to write an individual document for each job you apply for matching what they are looking for against what you have to offer. Be sure that your resume is as close a match as possible to the posting/ad that you are responding to.

As is the case with any cover letter or resume style it will depend on your resume reader as to how effective this style will be. Some resume readers like it because it cuts to the chase. Others don't like it because it is too simplistic. If you are not experiencing the results that you were hoping for and need a new angle to get your foot in the door this may be the ticket for you. Who knows you just might get a surprise with a quick response? Anything is worth trying in this very competitive market.

-Carole Martin

Carole Martin is a celebrated author, trainer, and an interview coach. Her books, "Interview Fitness Training Workbook" and "Boost Your Interview IQ" (McGraw Hill) have sold thousands of copies world-wide. Receive Carole's FREE 9-week job interview e-course by visiting her web site at: and