Analyzing A Job Description Before You Click The Apply Button

By LucasWorks! on November 24th, 2016

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When searching through job boards, you come across a lot of job descriptions.  How you read and interpret them has a bearing on how qualified you think you are for the position and how you’re likely to customize your resume.

Employers are usually inundated with responses to every job posting.  Before you hit that Apply button, take the time to make sure your response stands out in the crowd by asking yourself the following questions:

How many of the job requirements/qualifications do you meet?

This area provides the most relevant insight to the role and what employers are looking for.  In a competitive job market, employers typically have their choice of job candidates, so unless you meet at least half of the requirements, consider spending your time applying to a different job.

Does the job description contain questions for you to answer?Asking a question in the job description that requires an answer in your response is an employer’s favorite way to tell if you have carefully read the description. It is also a quick test of how good an employee you might be. Answering the question indicates that you can read and understand what is in the description and also that you can follow directions. An ability to follow directions is an important skill to demonstrate because it is what nearly every job requires.

How do they want you to respond to the job posting?

Some organizations ask you submit through an applicant tracking system by simply uploading your application materials and hitting “submit.” But, the description may also contain other specifications like a specific email address for responses and/or follow up. There might also be directions in terms of what kind of materials to submit and what format they should be in.  Even though it seems obvious, it’s important to follow directions.

Does this look like a job you would be happy doing?

Maybe the job title is “administrative assistant” (a job you want), but the job requires someone to do some accounts payables tasks and financial reporting, which you can do (but hate).  Carefully read the description of what the person in the job will be expected to do, often called “Duties” or “Responsibilities.”  Often, like the job’s requirements, the duties/responsibilities are listed in descending order of relevance and importance to the job. Note the things in the list that you don’t enjoy doing or don’t do well – how high are they on the list?

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