How to Read A Job Description The Right Way

how to read a job description the right way

When last did you read a job description?  For job seekers, their response might be along the lines of a few minutes or a few hours ago. However, when you think about it, when was the last time you really read a job description? This means that when was the last time you absorbed the words in the posting reflecting the content. Now, there is the possibility that your response will be different. Many job seekers will take a brief look at a job description before applying. However, they never consider the job description while applying. 

It’s easy to get into a routine like this, especially if you want to apply to as many positions as possible within a short period. But, this is a mistake that would not only extend your job search or make you lose a position you really want. In this article, we will talk about how to read a job description the right way. But before then, what is a job description, and what is the content of a job description?

What is a job description?

A job description (job posting) is the information that a company posts about an open position. They either post it on their own website or on any other job board. It contains information about the job and the organization, as well as the qualities employers want in a new recruit and how to apply.

Sometimes, because of the enthusiasm for a great job title or company, reading the description might not interest you. However, knowing the job description thoroughly is crucial to your application. A job description will help you figure out just what a company is looking for. Consider it a cheat sheet for discovering the right job and landing it.

What’s in a Job Description, Exactly?

While not all job posts will include the same information or put it in the same order. Here is some general information you can find in all job descriptions:

Job Title: Take note of how the job title corresponds to your level of experience and interests.

The name of the company: You can do some preliminary research on an organization to see whether it’s a place you’d like to work.

Description of the company. Pay attention to how a company talks about its values, its future, and its workforce to figure out what matters most to them and how you might contribute to their culture and work environment.

Occupational classification. The job description should specify whether the employee will be a full-time, part-time, contractor, or freelancer.

Location of the job. In addition, job postings should specify whether a position will be entirely in-office, entirely remote, or a hybrid of the two.

Job Summary: This is an overview of what the job entails. The job summary will give a brief description of the duties and responsibilities of anyone that gets the role.

Required qualifications: this is a qualification expected from the right candidate for the job. Every job seeker applying for the position should have the required qualifications.

Preferred qualifications: Some companies add this section to their job postings. Anyone with a bonus or preferred qualification is likely to be considered before others.

Salary, perks, and benefits: Not all companies add a salary range to their job postings. However, most organizations add the benefits you will get from working with them.

Instructions on how to apply: In most job postings, there will be directions on how to apply to the job.

Tips on how to read a job description the right way.

Reading a job description the right way does not mean that you should cram it word for word. But, make sure you read through the description as if you are reading comprehension at the first glance. Read in between the lines and read thoroughly. Then pick up your pen and journal and write these down;

What qualifications does the employer want?

One of the tips on how to read a job description the right way is to look out for the qualifications that the employer wants. There is some information in the job posting that will give you insight into what the company is looking for, so highlight that information. Be on the lookout for the experience level the employer is looking for, the skills that the right candidate should possess, and others. Besides, you should note whether there is a particular certification or education level that could qualify you for the role.

What is the important aspect of the role?

Another tip on how to read a job description the right way is to look out for what is important for the role. Two things can help find them out:

  • Repetition: there will be a repetition of some words all through the job posting. Take note of those words or phrases as they are important for the role.
  • When a company is listing out the duties and responsibilities attached to the job. The first few points can be assumed to be crucially essential to the job.

What keywords can you incorporate into your application letter?

When reading a job description, be on the lookout for some phrases used to describe the role or company. These phrases are keywords. The keywords give you insight into what the organization expects. And you can incorporate them into your cover letter or cv when applying for the role.

Are there buzzwords or red flags in the job posting?

When reading a job description, look out for buzzwords or red flags. Most of the time, buzz words are used to cover up red flags. For instance, if a job description contains phrases such as “put in long hours,” that is a red flag. It could mean that the company will not respect your personal time. You might be called on at any time for work. If you are the type that won’t be comfortable in such an environment, then don’t bother applying.

Final thoughts

So, these are the tips on how to read a job description the right way. When you read the description the right way, you will be able to gauge whether you should apply for the role or not. Besides, reading the job description thoroughly can help you identify scam jobs.


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