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11 Tips for Targeting Your Application to a Job Posting

Gillian Burdett
June 27, 2018

Focus your application to land an interview.

You're scrolling through the job listings on Care.com and you spot your perfect job. It's the one you've been waiting for, and you know you're the best person for the position. Unfortunately, several dozen other job seekers may be thinking the same thing. What can you do to make your application stand out?

Follow these 11 steps to hook prospective employers.

  1. Know That Your Application Is Not About You
    "First and foremost," advises Lisa McDonald, career coach, certified professional resume writer and owner of Career Polish, "keep in mind your [application] is not about you -- it is about them [the employer]. What is important to the employer? What are their needs? What is their environment, and what are their expectations?" 

    You should first answer these questions, and tailor your application so that you are the solution to the potential employer's needs. The message you compose to accompany your application is your opportunity to shine.

    [RELATED: "How to Become a Babysitter"]

  2. Analyze the Job Posting
    "When reviewing applicants, those hiring will be looking for someone who fits their specific needs," says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs. A careful study of the job posting will help you formulate your application letter.

    Break the posting down into a list of requirements. What tasks will you be expected to perform? What personality traits is this employer seeking? The posting may state specific characteristics, such as creative or mature, but look for the unstated as well. Does the position appear to require someone skilled at multi-tasking?

    Armed with a list of requirements, you can tailor your message to demonstrate how well you meet this employer's needs.

  3. Put Yourself in the Employer's Shoes
    Anticipate what this employer may consider important. Sutton Fell points out that if a job requires chauffeuring children to activities, an excellent driving record will be a high priority. Mention you possess this.

  4. Evaluate Your Previous Experiences
    Think about your past positions and determine the value you brought to previous employers.

    "Focus on the most important aspects, rather than giving a detailed, bullet-point list of every single duty you performed in the past," McDonald says.

  5. Create a Yes-No List
    Armed with a list of the job's requirements and your skills, determine how well they match.

    McDonald suggests you write "yes" or "no" next to each requirement, based on how well your qualifications meet each need. "If the description is more heavily weighed on the 'no' side, do not apply. You will not be happy, and it will be a great waste of time for you and the employer."

  6. Match the Employer's Tone
    Take note of the tone of the job listing. Is it very formal or casual? You will want to communicate using the employer's language. 

    "Mimic the tone and words they use in order to form a comfort level," McDonald says. "We naturally gravitate to people who are like us so you want to make sure that you convey that you are a natural fit for the position and for them."

  7. Be Specific
    If a job description includes preparing meals, rather than merely saying you are an experienced cook, give details. For example: "In my previous position, I was responsible for preparing healthy, hot lunches daily for a family of five."

  8. Point to Your Flexibility
    Your availability will be the first thing most employers will consider. If your schedule is flexible, mention this. Unexpected events arise, and the position may require you take on tasks beyond the original job description. If you are willing to take on new challenges, say so.

  9. Explain Why You Want the Job
    A prospective employer will get a better feel for who you are if you include a brief statement about your own goals. Keep this short and honest. If you're applying for a housekeeping position, waxing poetic about your love of vanquishing germs is over the top.

  10. Conclude With a Call to Action
    Wrap up by expressing your desire for further contact. Let the employer know you welcome the opportunity to present your qualifications during a personal interview.

  11. Proofread
    Double-check your letter for grammar and spelling. A careless error will make you look sloppy. Read it aloud to hear the flow of words. Your ears often pick up what your eyes miss when reading.

"You want to engage [employers] in the [application] to get them excited to read your resume," says McDonald. "Yes, you want to tell them you are the best candidate because if you do not promote yourself, who will?"

Gillian Burdett is a freelance writer living in New York's Adirondack Mountains. Her work can be found here.

Comments

Great article by care.com team,i have been on the site for a while,i have had an interview but i did'nt go for the job because of the distance.On the other hand i have received a lot of mails ( 5 in total) from fraudulent people which i was wise enough to know and reported to the care.com team.I do hope to snag a job soon though,good luck

Well, I've been on care.com for a month now, and the sum total of what I've gotten out of it is 4 fraudulent contacts with money scams. I have learned to immediately ask them specific questions, which causes them to disappear. I hope to find a legitimate contact soon.

Love any tidbits of information available to help me/a family find the perfect fit! I have already found a family with 2 young Tweens that have worked their way into my heart and look forward to staying with them as they grow. This is a date night position though and I am looking for a full time position as well

Great advise .I will consider your advise .Thank you care.com .

User in Cornelius, NC
July 17, 2015

Thank you so much Lisa for taking the time out to impart these most valuable tips, I\

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