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How to identify and respond to keywords in a job advertisement

Recruiters look for the perfect match to their vacant job. It is your task to make sure that the recruiter understands how you match the requirements. We have gathered a few essential points from recruiters and hiring managers that we will share with you

The responsibilities and requirements or qualifications sections are usually the core of the job ad. Recruiters spend time identifying the main qualifications needed. They map out existing skills in the team to find out if one or more skills are lacking. A new employee could very likely bring missing skills to the company or the team. Therefore, recruiters spend time making sure that the job ad reveals what to expect from the job. The company wants to attract the right person with the right skills, - someone who will be happy in the job and hopefully stay in the company for a longer period of time.
Recruiters communicate this to you by use of keywords in the job ad. Now it is your job to help the recruiter understand that you have the right qualifications, by doing the following:

  1. Identify the key requirements – the necessary skills – and respond to them carefully.
    You might want to list the requirements into two groups: hard and soft skills.
    Hard skills are teachable and measurable abilities that are easy to quantify such as your degree or certificate, machine operating or the ability to use computer programs. In Denmark, recruiters expect you to start with mentioning the hard skills. E.g. if you are an engineer, you will want to mention that as soon as possible.

    After you have mentioned the hard skills, you can focus on the soft skills.
    Soft skills are subjective skills that are hard to quantify. They are also known as people skills or interpersonal skills. Soft skills are the traits that mark who you are as a colleague or employee such as communication skills, team work ability or your role as a team leader.

    Please note: in your cover letter, recruiters expect you to not just mention the skills. Instead, you are meant to demonstrate that you possess a skill by sharing examples of when you used it.

  2. If you start your CV with a Personal profile, or a Summary, remember to state your primary professional skills (hard skills) in the first sentence. Recruiters scan this section to find out if you match the job –recruiters use approximately 20 seconds for this initial scan. Therefore, you can help the recruiter by listing your primary skills first. One example could be “Engineer with five years of experience in wind turbines …”.  

    Please note - if you start by listing your aspirations or career goals, Danish recruiters might interpret this as a lack of professional skills – otherwise you would have stated these immediately.

    It is OK if you do not meet all of the qualifications listed in the job ad. If you meet just some of the qualifications, you can still apply for the job, provided that you can convince the reader that you match these completely. Ideally, you should demonstrate this by using specific examples from your previous work experience.

    It will be worth your while to mention and identify comparable or transferable skills or experiences. For example, if the job requires R programming skills, you can state that you are proficient in Python and by knowing this you will quickly be able to learn.

  3. Remember to include your motivation in your cover letter. Generally speaking, Danish employers believe that if you like your job and if you feel happy when at work, you will perform better. Try to think about these questions:

    - Why are you applying for this specific job? If you can state that you really like working with certain tasks, please do so.
    - Why do you think you are a good match to the job?
    - Why do you want to work for this particular company?

    Remember: Do not focus on what you can gain from being hired, but what the company can gain from hiring you.

    Try to put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter. Do you match the key elements of the job? Is it easy for the recruiter to see how you match the requirements? Have you explained your motivation for applying for the job? If you can answer yes to these three questions, you are well on your way

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