How to align your skills with the job description

How to align your skills with the job description
How to align your skills with the job description

posted 25 Jul 23

Your skills play a vital role in determining what type of job you should have and how you conduct your job search. To understand what skills and experience you can offer in a role, we recommend you complete a personal skills audit before you set sail on your job search.  

In a highly competitive job market where hiring managers scan through hundreds of applications, relevant skills and experience need to jump out at them for your application to get noticed. To earn a call from the hiring manager, we recommend presenting a CV tailored to the job description. This will involve identifying the necessary skills required from the job description and creating multiple versions of your CV, depending on the role and company.  

To save time during the application process and present yourself as the best candidate for the job, discover two simple steps to align your skills with the job description. 

1. Break down the job description into a list of skills 

Once you have analysed a job advertisement and decided to make an application, it’s time to drill down into the detail. The job description should outline the key skills, experience, and qualities the employer wants. Often, skills are labelled ‘essential’ or ‘desirable’, so aim to cover all the essential skills and as many of the desirable ones as possible.  

Not only should you pay attention to the traits explicitly listed as skills, but also to every duty or qualification that implies use of a skill. For example, a job advert specifying skills in Powerpoint, could imply a need for presentation skills, analytical skills, and confidence in public speaking. 

Top tip:  Look at their company values page or social channels to gain an understanding of their company culture and identify other possible soft skills or attributes required that are not mentioned in the job description.  

2. List your key skills with evidence  

Whether you are tailoring your CV to a role or completing an application form from scratch, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed during the process. To make a start, here is a simple technique to match your skills and experience with those required for a job: 

List skills from the job description alongside evidence to demonstrate each skill in a table format (like below) - this information can be easily pulled into your application or weaved into your CV.  

Key skills required  My evidence 
Market knowledge 
  • If you have completed any training or higher education related to this, mention specific module titles and what you found interesting.  
  • If you have worked within the industry or had any cross-over, mention the time period and if any training was provided. 
Presentation skills 
  • Include the names of projects and which stakeholders were present; discuss how you think it went and what actions have been taken as a result. 
  • You could also mention any experiences from previous employment or outside of work that demonstrate presentation skills. 
Communication skills 
  • Mention what forms of communication you use in your current role, plus their effectiveness.  
  • Refer to a time when you altered communication methods to achieve results. 

 

This exercise will allow you to think outside of the box. If you don’t have direct work experience for one of the key skills required, draw evidence from a variety of sources, including educational studies, voluntary work experience, or personal interests. 

Top tip: As you complete this process for future applications requiring different skill sets or even upskill, continue to expand the same table and highlight the rows applicable; this will allow you to repurpose the copy and save time. 

What’s next? 

Once you have drafted your application or tailored your CV, it’s time to get critical. Consider how the text flows, its relevance versus the job description, and double check spelling and grammar. You’ll want your application to be as concise as possible whilst highlighting the key skills, so keep sentences short, avoid repetition, and remove any information irrelevant to the person specification. You may also want to ask a friend or family member to read it and ask if they recognise this description as you. 

At Search, our recruitment consultants have expert knowledge of their industry and match candidates with the right opportunities. Contact Search today to discuss your skills and experience and find relevant roles.