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Create effective job applications in three proven steps

A problem that I come across a lot when working with my career coaching clients is their ability to position themselves effectively when applying for a job. Last week I was working with a client, Susan. We were putting together her cover letter and resume for a position she was very excited about. Her problem was  that she could only focus on the area that she felt did NOT fit the job. This very talented, highly educated professional was focusing all her energy on the one part of the job description where she was not a perfect match. And she was obsessing over that one area.

This insecurity had her completely blinded from all the areas  where she was an EXCELLENT fit for the job, and it affected her ability to market herself in her application materials. This is where I stepped in and held up the mirror so she could see how damaging this perspective was. Instead of looking at it from the angle of what she did not have, I turned the tables and explained how much she did have that matched the position.

I was able to language the transferable skills she had into a direct match for what the position was looking for and cover all the requirements, including the area she thought she was missing. Susan was amazed and even more excited about applying for the position right away!

Here are three proven ways to focus on your strengths instead of your insecurities:

  1. Prior to concentrating on one job description in particular, write out a list of your professional accomplishments. What are you particularly proud of in these scenarios?
  2. Next pull out the strengths that these examples highlight. For example if you are proud of an award you received at work, what talents and skills did you showcase to win the award? What expertise won you this award?
  3. Now look at the job description and find where these strengths fit what the job is looking for. If the position is looking for experience with a particular software that you do not directly have, but one of your strengths is to learn technology quickly, highlight that skill in your materials, and provide a concrete example.  You obviously cannot make up experience you don’t have, but you can highlight to the employer that you have the underlying skills to be successful.

By accomplishing this you’ll feel more confident that you are marketing yourself effectively in each application. If you are having trouble pulling out your strengths and need an objective expert to lend a hand, contact us for a job search strategy session.

Darcy Holoweski
Certified Career Coach