The job description holds more to it than you think. At first glance, your eyes may zoom into the title, the requirements, and salary but you may be missing out on key details if you don’t inspect further. Taking the time to look at it more closely, you’ll be able to uncover the real details about the role, the company’s culture, as well as the style of the manager you are going to be working with.
The Society of Human Resource Management says job descriptions are a tool for hiring managers to communicate what skills and experience they’re looking for and also weed out applicants who don’t fit the mold. However, you as a job applicant can also make use of what they say in the job description to work in your favor.
Here are the top 3 things to look out for in job descriptions:
When you see something that piques your interest, you might be too excited and miss out on some red flags at first sight. I’ve seen this from both the candidate and recruiter side, there are job descriptions out there that may indicate that this role is not the right one for you.
Some of these red flags could include cliche statements like: “we work hard and play hard” or “we’re a family here,” which could mean some unpaid overtime and an expectation that you will respond to emails even when you’re on vacation.
Ambiguity in job descriptions or insinuating that you would “wear multiple hats” for the role could also signal that the role may be more than you signed up for and that it’s normal for employees to be overworked. Take all of these suggestions with a grain of salt, and trust your instincts in these situations. Sometimes it’s best to apply and then make the judgment after you meet the team during interviews.
Moving up the corporate ladder with a fancier job title must be pretty exciting, as higher positions often equate to better pay and benefits, but this isn’t always the case. Different companies will have different titles for their roles and levels, so make sure you can spot the differences. Titles aren’t everything but they can play a role for your future career plans.
You can also use the title to do some research on who and what the hiring manager is looking for. With this information, you can copy and paste that title on LinkedIn to see who currently has that role and those who previously had it. Take a look through their experiences, responsibilities, and qualifications and see how you match up. If your profiles are aligned, chances are higher that you will get an interview.
While it’s easy to get lost in the list of requirements, you want to focus on specific skills that are emphasized. Most often, these are going to be the technical skills required to succeed in this role.
There’s no need to worry if you don’t fill every requirement that a job description lists but a good practice is to notice the ones that are repeated or seem more apparent — chances are they are ideally looking for candidates who possess that specific skill. Now that you know what skills they’re looking for, make sure to emphasize those in your resume and have them ready in your arsenal during your interview to really seal the deal.
As you now see, there are more to job descriptions than meets the eye. It’s to your advantage to study these bullet points to decode what the workplace is really like and to step into the hiring manager’s shoes. The next step for you is then to tailor your resume accordingly and nail your interview. Rooting for you!
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