Most candidates will spend only 14 seconds reading a job posting before deciding whether or not to apply. While it may be tempting to simply glance at a job posting, failing to thoroughly read one may cost you an interview. Analyzing a job description can give you a better idea of what the job entails and can give you hints on how to boost your resume for the position.
There are a few things you should look for when dissecting a job posting. Before diving deep into the description, consider your initial interest level in the job. Can you see yourself doing the listed tasks daily? Are the aspects of the job exciting to you? Do you think you can succeed in this role? If you answered no to any of these questions, continue searching for a job that best fits your needs.
Once you’ve found a role that you are interested in, it’s time to take a closer look at the job description.
Analyze the qualifications and responsibilities for the job.
Most job descriptions will have a list of skills and experiences a candidate needs to be successful in the position. Some common qualifications are education, years of relevant experience, and knowledge of certain software, such as Microsoft Office. Responsibilities describe the duties associated with the position. Together, these sections are the most important part of a job description. Along with a detailed list of what the job is, these sections have keywords that you can use later.
Most job descriptions list the most important qualifications and responsibilities in order of importance. Be confident in your ability to complete the majority of tasks, but don’t worry if you don’t meet all the criteria. Think of a job description as a wish list rather than a rigid set of requirements.
Look for hints about company culture.
Continue to examine the description by finding clues about the company culture. Check the tone that the description uses to describe both the company and the position. Pay attention to how the company talks about itself in the description. Buzzwords like “fast-paced” or “results-oriented” can help you determine company values. The writing tone can also hint at whether the workplace is formal or casual. These clues can help you decide if you would fit into the existing workplace environment.
Be cautious of scams.
Jobs scams are on the rise due to how simple it is to post on virtual job boards. Luckily, there are a few red flags that can signal that a job is less than satisfactory:
- Posts that use unspecific and ambiguous wording.
- Posts that ask you to pay a fee.
- Posts that ask for your personal information (this isn’t needed until further in the hiring process).
- Posts that sound too good to be true.
Doing a bit of background research on the company can also help you steer clear of potential job scams.
Use the job description to your advantage.
Now that you’ve decided to apply for a job opening, you have the tools to make your resume and cover letter stand out from the rest. Show the hiring manager that you took the time to learn about the open position by tailoring your application materials.
- Incorporate keywords from the job posting into your resume.
- Explain how your previous experience matches their job in your cover letter.
- Display your eagerness to learn any skills that you are not familiar with.
Are you looking for a job or want to practice your job description analysis skills? Check out our open positions here!