Beat the system! Using Job Descriptions to Your Advantage

If you are currently looking for a job, whether you are unemployed, searching for your next big opportunity, or working with a recruiter to secure a new position, paying attention to the details in a potential job description is vital. The amount of detail added to a job description determines the extent of your understanding of what exactly is in demand for this role as well as what benefits and pay are being offered. When you can interpret the full dynamics of the job, you can start using these job descriptions to your advantage. So, the more detail, the better!  

Normally, online job boards will just show you the title of an open position, where it is located, and the name of the employer it is with before providing any more information. At this point, it is your choice to click on the tab and read its description or to continue scrolling through your search results. But this is where you could miss out on potential opportunities; by determining that you are underqualified for a job just by reading its title before you take a minute to look at the description. Job titles can be flexible and do not exactly determine the level of seniority or responsibility that comes with it. So, if the role sounds remotely to your current title, you should continue to the description and verify if it is right for you. Reading the description, rather than just the title, can assist you in determining if this role is a good fit for you, and vice versa. 

The salary range promoted in a job description is found to be the most influential piece of information for job seekers, and for a good reason! Imagine you found a job that you qualify for 100 percent, and even bring a bit more to the table. If you find out that the salary range is lower than what you are already being paid, you probably would not be interested in applying for this job anymore. Of course, there is the possibility that there is room for negotiation, but an employer can only raise their offered starting pay so much before they hit a ceiling and/or begin losing money. In this case, you may be overqualified for this position.  

When you do find a job that you would like to apply for, the information entailed in its description becomes essential to your application process. To catch the eye of the Application Tracking System,* and more importantly, the hiring manager, you must use the keywords within the job description to tailor your resume to what the hiring manager is looking for. This entails swapping out some of your listed skills for the ones they are looking for (if they are truthfully skills you possess). Also, consider rewording the responsibilities you held in your current and previous roles in your experience section that are applicable to this job you are applying for, and dispersing keywords relevant to the role throughout your resume for the Application Tracking System to notice.  

Although the details are important, as mentioned before, most jobs are negotiable in terms of pay, seniority, title, etc. Anything can become negotiable during your interview if you stand as a strong candidate and the hiring manager is willing to be flexible with what he or she has offered in the job description. For example, organizations usually require a certain level of education but will overlook that requirement if you are able to show that you are qualified for the role through many years of experience.  

There is a reason why employers add “strong attention to details” in the qualifications portion of their open job descriptions… because it plays a significant role in critical thinking and problem-solving situations! When you go out of your way to ask yourself “What can I do to present myself as the ideal candidate for this role,” you can follow it by paying attention to details, formulating a new, impressive resume, and using it to your advantage against your competition when applying for that next job! 

To learn more about Application Tracking Systems and what you can do to successfully surpass them, we recommend our previous blog “How To Navigate the Infamous Application Tracking System”.



Spencer Ford

Marketing Contributor

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