People getting ready to write a resume often ask how to figure out what employers are looking for when they hire. It’s a question that can’t be answered. You can’t look at something as big as the job market and say “what are people looking for?” How could you possibly come to a reasonable answer to that question? You can’t.
Every industry, company, and hiring professional looks at things a little bit differently. They just do. Not very helpful, right? No, it’s not. So what can you do if you’re looking at your next career change and wondering how to get positioned for job search success? This is a recurring theme with me, and this won’t be the last time you hear it, but I say you have to start by figuring out what you want.
You may not be able to figure out what everyone wants, but you absolutely CAN look at a given industry, company, or team and identify key skills and attributes that would make you a relevant candidate for employment. How, you might ask? That’s an excellent question.
There are tons of tools out there to help you do research on what’s relevant in a given niche. You can search Google, visit Careerbuilder.com or Monster.com, or check out any one of a thousand niche job posting sites to identify the hiring goals and needs of specific employers or teams.
Identifying desirable skill sets, traits, and experiences is easier to do these days than ever before. In addition to the aforementioned job posting sites, we have more sophisticated social and professional networking tools like Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn. You can use these tools to learn about people who work at a company, the groups these people are connected with, what they like doing, and in the case of LinkedIn, maybe even online versions of their resumes. If their profiles and experiences helped those people get hired into the sort of job you want, it’d be a very good idea to pay attention to what they’ve said and done in them.
Only after you’ve figured out what you want to do, where you want to do it, and the types of people, skills, and experiences that are desirable in that space are you in a position to write your resume in an intelligent and impactful way. That’s how you can use the