On the surface, it would seem like reading a job description and figuring out if the opportunity had potential was relatively simple. However, noticing the correct details isn’t always easy. Similarly, assessing the meaning behind various phrases is often trickier than many candidates expect, and misinterpretations are common.
Here’s a look at the most important things to look for in a job description.
Qualifications: The Must-Haves and Nice-to-Haves
Any qualifications the employer outlines are used to assess a candidate’s fit. When reviewing a job description, note the amount of experience the company is after, the specific skills or competencies they want to find, and any education or training they’d like to see brought to the table. Additionally, note if the employer separates the qualifications into must-haves and nice-to-haves.
It’s also wise to pay attention to the order in which the requirements are presented, particularly when they’re in a list format. Capabilities near the top are usually higher priorities than those listed lower, so ensuring you possess what’s close to the top before applying can increase your odds of success.
While you don’t necessarily need to possess every competency the employer lists, ensuring you have at least 70 percent of what the company wants before applying is usually best. If you don’t, the odds of being deemed a poor fit are relatively high.
Repeated Words, Phrases, or Sentiments
When you’re reading a job description, note any competency or values-related words, phrases, or sentiments that are repeated. If specific skills or traits are mentioned several times, they’re high priorities for the employer. As a result, you’ll have a more substantial chance of looking like a solid match if you bring those to the table.
Generally, the more a term or phrase is repeated, the more the company values that competency or characteristic. Just make sure you also factor in words that generally have the same meaning, as those are functionally a type of repetition. For example, “teamwork,” “team-oriented,” and “collaboration” are all references to working well with others and coordinating as a group, so even if those unique terms are used, they’re also a kind of repetition.
Duty, Skill, and Trait Keywords
Keywords define the job and what the company needs to find. Plus, most employers use the words and phrases when setting up automated resume screeners. By ensuring you include the exact terms as they’re written in your resume – avoiding alternative words or phrases and acronyms, even if they have the same meaning – you are more likely to come across a match to automated screeners and the hiring manager. As a result, you may increase your odds of landing an interview.
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