How to Read (and Target) a Job Posting

When preparing a resume, there are a number of things to consider – and everyone has advice for how to improve it.

To start, you want to know the posting. You need to ensure you’re meeting the needs of the employer and that your resume is demonstrating how you can.

  1.  While it may seem obvious, take a moment to review the posting for the job to which you’re applying. If you are not targeting a specific role, but focusing generally on a field instead, gather three to five postings in that field and review those. What are the keywords that the ad uses? What words show up consistently in each posting if you are looking at more than one? Pay careful attention to these!
  2. Here’s the trick, though. Don’t just copy the words from the posting. You should integrate some of them, but you need to do it organically. Just as ATS will screen out resumes that include none of those words, they will also screen out too many. Your resume, if not crafted realistically, will be viewed as spam or a robot. Don’t be a robot! Find synonyms or creative ways to use those words or cover the same ground.
  3. Now start a two-column list. On the left, write down the keywords you’ve found. On the right, list your skills and achievements that are specific to each of those keywords. This is the meat of the resume you will create.

These few steps help you to ensure that, even before you start crafting your resume, you are going to write the resume that gets seen. Remember, the goal of the resume isn’t to get a job – it’s to get an interview! The interview and your relationship with the employer lands you the position, but you need to get in the door for that to happen.


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