How to read job descriptions

“This job was perfect for me! Why didn’t I get invited?”

Many people apply for their perfect job. But only a few actually get an interview or the job. As it turns out, many applications get rejected because the applicant does not fit the position. Why do so many people apply for jobs they are not fit for?

Reading a job description isn’t just reading!

First, let’s ask what is the purpose of a job description? To filter out a person qualified to do the job. Second, who writes it? Somebody from the Human Resources department. Another department or the department manager needs a new employee. He knows what he is looking for. But, searching a new employee isn’t his responsibility. So he delegates the task to Human Resources. They use a company template and fill in some general information about the position. This description will be used over and over again, even if it’s not current anymore.

Job description outline

  • Company presentation: who is searching?

  • Position: for which position?

  • Requirements: whom are they searching? What are the qualities of the searched person?

  • (Possible) Salary:  what will they pay?

  • Contact Information: how to apply for the position?


The requirements section contains the most valuable information. Most important is to distinguish between required and preferred requirements. You should at least fit 80% of the required requirement. If not, don’t apply for the position! Preferred requirements will help, if the company has more applicants.


As a said in the beginning, reading a job description isn’t just reading. Start reading the requirements section first. If you fit the required requirements, continue reading otherwise search another position. This will save you much time. While you read the other sections try to get a picture of the company and the position. Don’t believe everything you read! Instead, read between the lines!


“Candidate should enjoy travel” → Could mean you have to travel once a year or that you will have to travel from Monday to Friday.

A good job description should describe the position as what it is and enable the applicant to picture it. Unfortunately, for most companies, it is more important to impress people with buzz words.

Hopefully this article will help you, to find the perfect job and to make your application successful!

Call on Action:

  • Read a random job description!

    • find out the required requirements!

    • find at least 2 buzz words and their meaning!

Your man,

– Gaius Wolf



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