Job Descriptions – “Reader Beware!” Are companies clear on what they are looking for and are you addressing it?

Author Byline: Ron Cottick, Author
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Job Descriptions – “Reader Beware!” Are companies clear on what they are looking for and are you addressing it?

I became more involved in writing, editing and re-writing job descriptions when I worked in Corporate Recruiting. I have since left Corporate Recruiting but still occasionally get involved in editing and re-writing job descriptions. I was guilty of not always asking permission but then I may not have gotten it, and, after all, I am doing it in the best interest of the company and candidate. So, what was the harm?

How did I ever get involved in doing what Hiring Managers and Human Resources should have been doing? If you ever had the opportunity to look at what most job descriptions look like from those sources you would wonder no more. Job descriptions many times have so much irrelevant and duh information in them it makes it hard to figure out exactly what the company is looking for. How could anyone expect candidates to understand what they are looking at with the irrelevant and duh information? Don’t know. What I do know is what I am about to tell you will help you understand how to deal with job descriptions.

Many companies store their job descriptions in a database and recycle them when they need to hire another person for the same position. The job descriptions get repeatedly recycled and some of the job descriptions can be years old. The Hiring Manager typically is responsible to keep job descriptions up to date. They approve the content and use, then; forward it to Human Resources to be posted. Human Resources is not anxious, inclined to or knows how to edit or re-write it to fit the new hire needs. Not re-writing a job description to update it is a big mistake! Human Resources usually just take for granted its completeness; accuracy, approval and they move the process forward. Thus, what you see is usually not clear, nor, up to date. Is the job really what it appears to be?

Companies typically write job descriptions to help brand the company. They write the job descriptions to have marketing appeal. They would be thinking “what would the candidate be looking for and see when looking at MY job description?” Does the job description appeal to the audience, the candidate? Will the candidate be able to say, “that’s me”! Everything should be focused, concise and pretty much to the point. Bulleted formats should be used for ease of reading and the points of the job description will stand out better. There should be key words in the description that a candidate would use in a search, as many as possible and in all the right places (but not over done). The layout should be a brief with Job Summary (set up much like an Objective on a resume), Job Responsibilities (set up much like the responsibilities you would find on a resume for the position(s) held), Skills Required (like a Skills Summary) and Education. A simple, to the point, job description is what a company should use. The candidate, their resume and the job description, should connect. The best way to connect is when a clearly written job description mirrors a clearly written resume. This is where your connection is made.

Paying as much attention to the job description as you would to your resume will help you make the connection. The connection you make will help open the door to getting the attention you need and position yourself for an interview.

So, watch for those unclear poorly written job descriptions. They usually indicate that the writer does not clearly know what they are looking for and is having trouble illustrating correctly the scope of the position. Pursue the clearly written and informative job descriptions. When you see one that connects with your resume, you will get the “that’s me” feeling.

It will pay dividends. When everything falls in place as it should you will be able to say “that worked out great for me, we connected” instead of falling victim to “Reader Beware!”

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

About Mary Sherwood Sevinsky

Masters-prepared Certified Disability Management Specialist. Over eighteen years experience in vocational assessment, counseling, and testimony, primarily in rehabilitation services.
This entry was posted in advice, General, interview, Resource and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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