Dissecting Job Descriptions: Which job is the perfect fit?

Career Guide September 13, 2018

Dissecting Job Descriptions: Which job is the perfect fit?

If anyone had the perfect recipe for choosing the right job, then there wouldn’t be people in career limbo or fulfilling the ‘wrong’ job. If you want to increase your odds of landing the job that best suits you, then you will need to take a careful look at what you’re being offered. Something as simple as the job description can help you choose which job and employer to join.

The Basics

You’ll want to know what’s in it for you. You’ll see hundreds of job descriptions and it can become overwhelming. So, what are the most important factors you should take into consideration?

  • Qualifications – most jobs have basic requirements. Qualifications let you know whether you have the basic knowledge and experience to do the job. However, there might be instances where a role doesn’t really require you to have the experience. Therefore, it is always worth checking if the company provides training and offers support within its organisation.
  • Day-to-day details of the job – it doesn’t have to be as specific but it’s good to know where you’ll be investing your time. It’s important to understand what the company requires from you and the job – which gives you the possibility of monitoring your progress in the future.
  • Compensation – all of us work for a living, so of course compensation is important. Because of this we need to ask ourselves: Is it reasonable for the tasks required? Is it competitive? Just as we want to know where we will be investing our time, we also want to know whether we will be compensated properly for the effort we’ve invested.

But it doesn’t stop here.

Looking Deeper

After reading the job description you already know the basic information, but what does the job really entail? A good job specification description should provide the information of what will be expected from you and insight on the company culture. This will give you a more accurate idea of the job function and will let you know what to expect from your potential future employer.

Reading the list of expected qualifications: the education, skills and experience is just tip of the iceberg. The results – what you need to achieve – that’s what’s important. The closer you are to being able to provide the exact metrics in the description, the better. Examples include:

  • lead a team of five direct reports to ensure they meet their performance goals
  • develop and execute the strategies to address changing markets
  • increase revenue by 15% percent through enhanced customer satisfaction etc.

When checking a job description there are also the non-financial aspects you need to take into consideration. What do the working hours and schedule look like? What job title will you get? Other things you should consider:

  • non-standard work or flex-time work arrangements
  • performance review setup
  • raises and bonuses
  • benefits package, such as healthcare

However, reading a job description can only get us so far, when trying to answer all our questions. In the end talking to the HR is still the best way to clarify things.

Making the Decision

Something to think about before making the final decision is how the new job will affect your future. It’s always best to go for the employer who can provide you with adequate training, who will allow you to develop new skills and who will support you in earning the right position to explore meaningful opportunities.