Matching Your Qualifications With Their Needs

Written By: Carole Martin

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The number of resumes received by employers continues to be overwhelming as the job market begins to pick up this year. The challenge for you, as a job seeker, is to get your cover letter/resume noticed - to stand out from the crowd. More and more candidates are using a cover letter/resume that demonstrates the “match” between the employer’s requirements (Your Needs) and the skills and experience that they have to offer (My Qualifications).

An example of this type of cover letter/resume is shown below. For some candidates this can be a very effective tool.

Your Needs My Qualifications
Marketing experience *5 plus years as a marketing consultant.
*Significant consumer-oriented technology marketing in the retail industry.
Product Management experience *Led product marketing efforts for an online store.
*Spearheaded product management efforts for major retail chain as a product manager.
Analytical abilities *Excellent qualitative and quantitative marketing analysis with high impact results.
Interpersonal Skills *Leadership qualities with the ability to lead projects and teams to highly successful outcomes.
*Ability to communicate through presentations to all levels of management. Strong ability to influence others.

The more technically able you are the more creative you can be with boxes and grids.

Even if you decide not to use this type of document, this exercise will help you familiarize yourself with how close a match you are for the position you are applying for. A few steps will make it an easy task that can serve you well in the long run.

Begin by reading the ads/postings carefully. Notice that there are some of the same words included in every ad for your type of job. An example would be ads for an Executive Secretary where the word “confidentiality” appears consistently. If you were applying for that particular position you would want to include the word “confidential” in your resume and cover letter and show how you have used that skill in past jobs. These words are called the “key factors” or the “key competencies” required to do the job. (Your Needs)

By reading job postings carefully and looking for the words that are repeated or stand out as being the most important factors to perform the job you will become familiar with the company or industry jargon used and what skills are being sought for the type of jobs you are seeking.

Practice identifying key factors in job postings or ads that are of interest to you. Go through postings or ads and use a highlighter to mark words as you read. What are the common words used in almost every description? What they are looking for? What are the qualifications listed? How do your skills match up against their requirements? Make a list of the key words and requirements to use in your cover letter/resume.

Next, make a template for your new cover letter/resume. On one side of the template type in “Your Needs.” On the other side type “My Qualifications.” Use this template to write an individual document for each job you apply for matching what they are looking for against what you have to offer. Be sure that your resume is as close a match as possible to the posting/ad that you are responding to.

As is the case with any cover letter or resume style it will depend on your resume reader as to how effective this style will be. Some resume readers like it because it “cuts to the chase.” Others don’t like it because it is too simplistic. If you are not experiencing the results that you were hoping for and need a new angle to get “your foot in the door” this may be the ticket for you. Who knows you just might get a surprise with a quick response? Anything is worth trying in this very competitive market.


Carole Martin is a thoroughbred interview coach. Celebrated author, trainer, and mentor, Carole can give you interviewing tips like no one else can.  Her workbook, "Interview Fitness Training - A Workout With the Interview Coach," has sold thousands of copies world-wide. "Boost Your Interview IQ" has been awarded one of the 10 best career books for 2004. Her most recent book, "Perfect Phrases for the Perfect Interview" and the others mentioned are all available at www.interviewfitnesstraining.com and www.interviewcoach.com

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