Targeting your cover letter and resume is a must! One quick way to determine what skills and qualities the organization posting the job values most is to look for repetition of words in the job posting. You might be surprised at what you find! RELAX – you don’t have to read through the posting to identify frequently used words and count how many of them exist in the posting. All you have to do is find a free word cloud application like Word it Out or Wordle and paste the text from a job posting into it. The more frequently a word appears, the larger it becomes.
It’s best if you have a detailed posting from the company you are interested in, but what if you don’t? No problem! Go to any career web site (Workopolis, Indeed, Total Legal Jobs) and look for postings related to the job you are interested in such as Litigation Assistant. You will likely find three or four postings quickly and easily that you can use to create a word cloud related to the position. In the example below, this firm clearly has a client focus and you might think to yourself “duh, of course they do – all law firms do”, but ensuring that you incorporate your client service skills into your cover letter and resume is a must for this position. Applicants who focus only on their technical skills may get weeded out. Knowledge of Conveyancer is also very important so don’t just say that you have knowledge of Conveyancer, be very specific about what you know and can do with the software.
Finally, if the company you are applying to has a web site, you can cut and paste text from their ‘about us’ and ‘career’ sections to see what words come up over and over again when they describe their organization and its people.
It doesn’t mean that these are the only things you should focus on, but if you don’t ensure that you have addressed the skills and qualities that stick out using a tool like this, you’ll be missing the boat!