Job Postings - Two Part Question

(Houston, Texas)

Part One: I've been reading quite a few job postings and have come to two conclusions…

1. Companies want specific experience in their industry that they seem to be limiting their potential for good talent (plus, how is anybody supposed to get their specific experience?)

2. A lot of job postings read like they want you to walk in and do the job like you've been working there for years. Doesn't every new job have a learning curve? It just seems unreasonable to me.

Part Two: Tailoring your Resume/Cover Letter to a specific job posting.

I get the basis of this statement, but feel weird about copying a bunch a specific sentences out of a posting. It seems like plagiarism. And should you use any/all related sentences? Even ones like "able to lift 40lbs" or "able to sit/stand/etc for extended periods of time"?


Part 1:

If you don't have specific experience in the specific industry, rely on your transferrable skills. Transferrable skills are universal skills that can transfer from one job to another, in almost any career field, regardless of the type of work.

This transfer of skill happens without much effort from you, and without much training from the employer because you already have experience using that skill.

Click here to learn more about transferable skills.

Another option is to start at an entry level position. In many cases, entry level positions include extra training.

In your job search, look for companies that offer an extensive training program as well as advancement opportunities. This way you can gain the experience and then work your way up in the company.

You can also try working with a temporary agency too look for positions in your field of choice. Sometimes a company will hire a less qualified candidate through a temporary agency to give you a chance to "prove yourself" before officially hiring you.

Part 2:

You are correct in that for some positions, employers want a person to walk in the door and be able to do the job immediately. I understand your frustration with this, but there is a reason for it.

For some positions, when the person who was previously in the position leaves, work either begins to pile up or becomes a burden on another employee until the company can find someone to fill the position.

A person who requires little or no training will be able to walk in and take over the work immediately to relieve this burden.

For example, this happens in a field like Human Resources. Extensive knowledge of Employment Law is required to work in Human Resources. Otherwise the company could put themselves at risk of being sued if these laws are not followed to the letter.

Of course, this is just one example. Just be mindful that time can be limited and employers may not have the time and resources to train someone to do the job if they can find someone who can walk in the door and do the job immediately.

Please do not mistake tailoring your resume with copying from the job description. The two are not the same.

Never ever copy a bunch of specific sentences from a job posting. That does indeed resemble plagiarism. The employer will know that you copied and will not appreciate it.

Instead look for keywords in the job description and sprinkle those keywords into your resume to make sure that your resume is in alignment with the job description.

For example:
"Answered 40 calls per day in a call-center environment" shows that you sat for long periods of time on the phone.
"Transferred large boxes onto shelves " shows that you can lift 40 lbs.

Be clever. Look at the sentence on the job description, then ask yourself…

  • "How have I accomplished this in the past?
  • "What skills do I have that match this particular responsibility?"
Then add it to your resume, in your own words.

I hope that I was able to answer all of your questions and that this information will help you in your job search.

Victoria E.

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