Listen and repeat!
For many years, high school students had that phrase drilled into their heads when they were learning a foreign language.  Regardless of the foreign language being studied, the prerecorded voice of the instructors in the widely used ALM series preceded each expression with “Listen and repeat.”  In those days, students learned key phrases and idiomatic usage through rote memorization, rather than the development of conversational skills.  When it comes to job search, memorization of key information and the ability to repeat it back to employers in a natural sounding conversational style is a very important skill to have.
It is vital for a job seeker to imbed into their frontal lobes, resumes, cover letters and interviews the information usually found within job announcements and corporate websites.  Frequently – though not always – job announcements include particular functions and skills the employer is looking for that the job seeker needs to effectively address.  Company websites can provide details on key projects and goals, corporate initiatives, career growth opportunities, benefits, training, employee culture, and other pertinent information that when included in job search correspondence, networking and interviews can benefit the job seeker.
What specific details should you look for to parrot back?
Obviously a job seeker should be able to demonstrate that they understand the skills needed to do the job being filled.  This is particularly true of hard skills, such as special hardware or software, industry specific knowledge and experience.  If this kind of information is mentioned in the job announcement, if a job seeker expects to be taken seriously as an applicant they better be able to parrot it back.
Even if you don’t exactly match the skills being sought, if your experience is similar and you can believably demonstrate a real understanding of what the employer is trying to accomplish and can offer other effective methods to fulfill those goals, you are much further along in conveying your worthiness for the job.  An employer may not want to invest in new hardware and software to accommodate you, but if you can describe, for example, your understanding of the similarities between two competing software packages, the employer should realize that you can learn the package they are using fairly quickly.
Can you provide anecdotal evidence of performing particular the same or similar functions that are described in the job announcement?  Have you led teams or collected and analyzed metrics?  Provide succinct descriptions of your recent experience that show you know what they are looking for.
And its not just a matter of including the specific language in your conversation, documents and interviews, it’s the applicant’s ability to convey a complete understanding of what an employer is looking that will be most convincing of their worthiness to fill that job opening.  This will include discussion of the applicant’s relevant soft skills that facilitate their ability to do a particular job.  With competition so fierce for all decent jobs, a job seeker must put every little detail to work in their favor.
And don’t forget that during interviews it is imperative to listen carefully to the questions being asked.  Your answers must fully convey your understanding of the question.  If you get sidetracked, you could mislead your interviewer into thinking you don’t know what they meant or what they need!  Including part of the question in your answer helps you demonstrate you know what was being asked!
A serious job seeker will take the time to study the job announcements and corporate websites of the companies where they’d like to work.  A job candidates’ ability to demonstrate a broad and complete understanding of an employer’s needs, and their own ability to fulfill those needs through the expression of their skills and relevant experience will boost the employer’s perception of how well that candidate can do the job they are trying to fill.
For more tips and ideas for job seekers and those on the job please search this blog and visit:  hanklondon.com

By Hank

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