Yes, employers always care about their own needs. It’s a little more extreme in this market. There’s a growing sense of entitlement that’s becoming more pervasive, according to my job-hunting gang. Employers feel more entitled to pick and choose candidates who:

  • Are completely qualified and have relevant experience – Employers have so many applicants that they can afford to skim the cream, often by searching resumes using words taken from job posting and description.
  • Connect the dots between their experience and the position – Employers are only interested in your past as it will affect their future. They need to see that you clearly understand what they want and need.
  • Believe the employer and its purpose/product are A#1 tops – Employers want you to demonstrate a real desire to work at the job which can mean you must provide work product or other value during the interview process.
  • Know and are known to people inside the company – Internal references provide evidence that you’ll be a no-brainer fit within the culture

Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to make sure you are focused on the employer’s needs instead of your own.

  1. Is this a job to which you could add value? How so? Be very specific about translating your experience into the new position. Tell the employer a short story that shows the value you bring that other candidates may not bring.
  2. How and why does your experience and training prepare you to do the same or more for them? Talk about how having done something in the past prepares you to tackle this specific responsibility at the new employer.
  3. How does what you’ve done in the past make you the right person to enable the employer to achieve its goals? Is this the logical next step in your career?
  4. Does my resume contain words and terms that appear in the job posting and job description? Does my cover letter contain language from the employer’s website, showing I “speak their language?”

Your answers to these questions form the core of an effective cover letter. They also are the core of your elevator pitch to the people you network with at the prospective employer. And the answers can help you hone your resume so you emphatically have the qualifications and experience required.