J Patrick + Associates Blog

How Should I Read A Job Description?

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

How Should I Read A Job Description?

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Wait, there’s a special way I’m supposed to be reading a job description? Of course, there is, there’s a special madness to everything in this world.  You could be reading the wrong things, or reading the right things in the wrong way.

First of all, when you’re looking at a job description, here’s one thing to keep in mind.  Most of the job descriptions are templates that hiring managers or HR have in their holsters ready to fire out to find job candidates.  If the template needs refining, they simply apply some minor changes to the description before posting it wherever need be.  This one-size-fits-all approach can be a source of confusion as sometimes the job roles may actually be different than what is detailed in the job description.

Candidates sometimes make the catastrophic mistake of adjusting their résumés to fit a job description: Absolutely-DO NOT do this.  If you’re going to adjust your résumé, make changes based on the job requirements, not the job description.  The job requirements are the very heart of the position the employer seeks to fill and provide the most useful information that a job seeker needs.  Most job postings break down into two parts.  First is the narrative, the job description.  This is the first thing you read and is usually communicated in broad and general terms.  The second is the job requirements. These are most often found towards the end of the posting.  These are typically bulleted and straight to the point.  It bears repeating that the job requirements are the most important set of information in the job description.  Why?  Because this is the information that the hiring manager sends HR to let them know what they need.  HR then takes this list and puts it right into the requirements, with the first couple of points generally being the most important to the hiring manager.

If you focus on the requirements, you should get a good grasp of what’s needed to succeed in the position.  The rule of thumb is that if you match up to at least 75% of the requirements you should apply for the job.  The best advice that I could give someone is to really break down the description and compare it to your skill sets. If the match looks suitable, then hey, go for it. If you’re still not sure, don’t be afraid to call or email to find out more about the job.

By Jake Pinto 

Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Job Interviews, Career Strategies