Thursday, October 13, 2011

Reading Between the Lines: What a Job Description Can Tell You

Last week I was glancing through the Winejobs.com listings, and read this in a job description, "ability to adapt to and thrive in a fast-paced, changing environment."  This made me laugh.  Often you can get a glimpse of what the potential employer's culture is like by reading the job descriptions. 

Let's take a look at some recent job descriptions:
  • Looking for an enthusiast and honest person with integrity, energy, drive and persistence, emotional intelligence and good interpersonal skills.  To me, this position outlines the perfect person.  If only it was this easy to find Mr. Right.  Maybe the last person here wasn't the right one.
  • Must be able to juggle multiple situations, and able to work independently.  Reading this one leads me to believe that this company needs someone who can work on their own and who can make decisions and has good follow-through on projects.  Additional skills that often go along with this are organization, goal setting and problem solving.  Often these qualities are needed at a company with looser corporate structures or macro-, not micro-management.
  • Strong leadership, self-starter, interpersonal skills and good communication skills. Yet again looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right. 
  • Tenacious, unflappable, not easily discouraged.  This leads me to think that the company needs someone who is able to work in a dynamic environment and someone who is self motivated to work hard.  This may not be the best environment for someone who has worked in a structured environment or has not had their ideas challenged in the past. 
  • Excellent active listening skills.  If you can't listen or follow directions, probably not the best place for you.
  • Solid business and financial acumen as it relates to operations.  Perhaps this position has not brought in strong profits in the past but needs to.  Also, you should be good at running numbers and reporting them to ownership/management. 
  • Versatile, flexible, and a willingness to work under competing priorities with enthusiasm.  This may mean you have several different supervisors.  Also could demand someone who can "grin and bear it" while working very hard.  Could be a situation where others have gotten discouraged in the past.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced and dynamic environment.  There's that dynamic word again.  What does this really mean.  I always take it to mean an environment that is quickly changing, of shifting priorities and results oriented. 
  • Must have good organizational skills and attention to detail.  If you don't have them, don't apply.  You won't be happy pouring over spreadsheets, reviewing numbers and keeping track of things if you take this position.
  • Professional attitude and a strong work ethic.  While this should go without saying, in this role you will be required to always act professionally, no matter what is going on around you, and you will be expected to work hard.  You should have a good head on your shoulders to do well in this job.
  • Demonstrated ability in multi-tasking and prioritizing workload while keeping in check quality and time constraints.  This sounds like the mantra we should all have to get ahead in life.  Often this implies a need for self-management and someone who can get things done.  May not be an overly structured environment. 

While job descriptions can be boring, these little descriptors can let you see a little bit about the inner workings of a company.  Also, reading through this list, it makes me think sometimes what they list are the qualities previous employees lacked.  Do you have what it takes to succeed in a possibly dynamic, unstructured environment?  Do you have strong attention to detail?  Well, then go after a job with those requirements.  When you send in that resume, you may know a lot about the company from reading between the lines.


Cranky Recruiter Note:  No job descriptions were harmed in the making of this list.  This list is for illustration and entertainment purposes only.  Any similarities to actual jobs is not intentional.

1 comment:

Resume examples said...

The job description is one of the key point in the resume so it should be very clear in the resume.Good examples are given.

Thanks.