key deliverables in resume

How to Identify a Job’s Key Deliverables Before You Apply

Recruiters and hiring managers want to hire people who are willing and able to do the job. In other words, they want people who deliver. 

“Deliver what?” you ask. That is what job seekers have to figure out. Then they have to convince the hiring manager they can deliver “it” to get a job offer

This post will give you several approaches to learn about a job’s key deliverables.

Interpersonal Skills

First, most hiring managers want to hire someone who works well with others.

That’s Deliverable #1 in most jobs. Even if they don’t say so.

Opportunities, Pain Points & Priorities

Beyond interpersonal skills, you can ask hiring managers the following questions to understand the key deliverables of any job:

  1. What would a great new hire accomplish in their first six to 24 months on the job?
  2. What’s keeping you up at night? How do you want your new hire to help?
  3. What are the first, second, and third priorities you want this person to deliver?
  4. Finally, in each case, ask how the hiring manager would measure success.

The Job Description

But what if you can’t talk with the hiring manager? How can you get a copy of the job description before you submit your resume?

Do this:

  1. Check the company’s website for a job posting.
  2. If that doesn’t work, contact HR or Talent Acquisition.

Reach Out to Your Network

In addition, you can reach out to your network. Although they won’t have the job description, they might have useful insights.

Look for people who know the job you want. Ask them about its typical deliverables.

Social Media & Quora

Finally, ask your question in a relevant social media group or on Quora:

“I’m applying for a project manager position with an industrial IoT company. I’d appreciate any insight you have on the key deliverables for that type of job. Is there any information my resume must have?”


That’s it. The more you understand about a job’s key deliverables, the better you can prepare yourself to write your resume, interview, and be reference checked for the job.

Image: Fotolia/pathdoc
Updated February 2019

© 2010 – 2019, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.

Comments 21

  1. Donna, superb blog entry, esp your mention of LinkedIn Q&A: as I’m sure you know, I spend a good bit of time there myself!

  2. Donna, Great advice for the applicant — especially all the options. Now we have to get the hiring managers and HR on board. It is much more effective, efficient and economical to spend 10 minutes up front then to schedule and conduct an hour face-to-face interview only to determine, no match.

  3. Hi Donna!

    As always, you share great information and generously provide helpful tips job seekers can put to use right away. Thanks, too, for reminding readers about LinkedIn as a great resource! I was just telling students in my social media workshop about the value of asking such a question on LinkedIn (and about great career professionals like you who are an amazing resource for job seekers, and their own colleagues).


  4. Thank you for you comments Ed, Diahann, and Shahrzad.

    I met Ed when he answered (helpfully, of course) a question I asked on LinkedIn. It’s worth its weight in gold as far as I’m concerned!


  5. I never would have thought to call and ask for a job description. What a great idea!

  6. Hi Ellyn,

    Thank you. You’re right, some won’t…and some will. And there’s always LinkedIn.



  7. Hi Donna,
    Great advice, but most of the people at the target company are not going to give out this information.

  8. I have recently graduated from an on-line school with a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology. I am 64 years old and the only experience I’ve had since high school (1965) has been the Navy (as a Storekeeper) and working in a factory as a Materials Handler. Now I am trying to reinvent myself but I can’t get a job in the IT field because I have no experience. Any jobs that I might apply for require being able to come in off the street and just take over with no one to train me to do the job. I can’t do that. I must have an entry level job that someone will give me some step by step training how to do it! (Fat chance of that) What to do?

  9. Glenn,

    Are you applying and not getting interviews or what?

    Without more info, here are a few brainstorming ideas:


    Talk with your professors and placement center about opportunities. Who hires grads from your school — as interns or permanent placements?

    Have a non-military person look at your resume. Does it need to be de-militarized?

    Which companies in your area work on DoD contracts? Have you contacted them?

    Informational interviews with a focus on “how does one get a start in this type of job?”


    P.S. Would love to see ideas from others here as well…

  10. Glenn, Donna’s advice is spot on. Internships are NOT just for college students. Employers, especially pro-veteran employers, would be very respectful and supportive of your reinvention when considering you as an intern candidate. And while you want to take every advantage of your military background, as Donna suggests you also want to focus your current resume, career collateral and job search on the transferable (“soft”) skills learned during your military career (leadership, teamwork, just-in-time inventory control, etc.). Finally, you most certainly want to take full advantage of two valuable resources at your disposal: your career center and the Veteran’s Administration. Good luck, Glenn… and please contact me if YouTern may be of assistance — happy to help a fellow veteran!

    Mark, Thank you. Donna

  11. Hi Donna and Glenn,

    Glenn – Congratulations on your reinvention and on finding Donna’s blog. She gives great, up-to-the-minute job search advice.

    It’s not surprising that you’re not finding employers who offer on the job training. That’s been unusual for a long time, and since the recession even more so. So I agree with Donna about arranging your own internship. Another option is to volunteer in a some place where there are others on staff to answer your questions. Both of those options will help you gain experience and will also signal your commitment to employers.

    I think it would also be a good idea to get familiar with issues you might run into as an older career changer. I write a column on that topic at and you can find links to the articles as well as useful resources on the same topic from AARP here:

    Good luck.

  12. Glenn,

    I completely agree with Donna and Mark. Internships are not only for students and recent graduates. In fact, internships are a key strategy for those interested in changing careers. However, you’ll probably not want to apply to “traditional” internship programs. Most are structured for students and recent graduates (even though that’s technically you). I would advise you approach a smaller company you admire and propose how you could be the solution to their problem(s) — just like Donna outlines in her fabulous post!

    Hope this helps,

    Heather, Thank you. Donna

  13. HR and the hiring manager do not want the call and will tell you it is all in the job postings. Yes you can ask in Linkedin; however unless the person answering you will receive noise and no real answers.

    Now, your first three are part of my standard questions when I am asked if I have any questions. I say 50% of the hiring managers are caught flat footed when those questions are posed. Of those caught flat footed, some are quick to end the interview. So approach those questions with caution.

  14. KD,

    You might consider asking the first question and catching the vibe before asking more. Another alternative is to reserve these questions until after you’ve received an offer.

    Nonetheless, if the hiring manager can’t answer you, I’ve gotta wonder how carefully they’ve thought about their hiring needs.



  15. Donna-

    What a fantastic set of questions you have come up with here. They will definitely be helpful for my clients as they investigate new career opportunities.

    Thanks so much for sharing.


  16. Great post and excellent insight. I just recently discovered this site and already find myself becoming a big fan.

  17. >That’s Deliverable #1 in most jobs. Even if they don’t say so.

    A harsh reality for us introverts… blah.

  18. Michelle,

    You can both work well with others AND be an introvert. I saw a stat the other day that said 40% of CEOs are introverts!



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