Decoding a Job Description

After you read some job advertisements, you may wonder what the employer really wants for the position. “Extensive customer service skills.” “Broad-based computer knowledge.” What does this mean? Below are some of the more popular terms that are utilized in job advertisements and what the employer may really mean when they use them.

“Customer service skills.” When an employer uses this term, they are seeking someone that has familiarity with working with the public. This not only means dealing with happy customers, but most likely they want someone that has experience working with unhappy customers. Be prepared to have specific examples of both types of customer service experiences. If you were an account manager and were responsible for 100 accounts, then put that information on your resume. Show the employer you know how to deal with a wide variety of customers in various industries.

“Basic computer skills.” Most employers today expect employees to have basic knowledge of Word, Excel, and Power Point. If you have experience creating extensive proposals in Word, then be sure that information is showcased in either your cover letter or your resume. If you have prepared presentations that have been shown at corporate meetings, let the employer know that information. If your software knowledge goes beyond the typical Microsoft Office products, list your software familiarity on your resume.

“Motivational skills.” If you are a motivator, it means that you are able to encourage other employees and you lift up those around you. If you have motivational skills, then you should be able to show how you have led a team, functioned as the go-to person for a project, or encouraged others in your company to try a new task, process, or sales tactic.

When you see the next job opportunity you would like to seek, decode the job description and try to discover what the employer truly seeks in an employee. Take the employer’s terminology and discover how you can provide examples that meet the employer’s challenges. Once you decode the job description, you will be well-on-your-way to modifying your resume and cover letter to match the employer’s needs.