How to Judge a Job by the Job Description


learn from the pros how to judge a job description

Last week I hosted a video session covering how to judge a job by the job description, how companies make job descriptions and what they’re looking for when they review resumes that match against a job description. In the video, I reviewed how to search for a job you’re looking for and then how to analyze the descriptions that pop up. To watch the full live stream, view the recorded video below. Keep reading for the highlights!

how companies develop job descriptions

If it's a small company, they start by judging the business need. A good thing to note is that small companies deal with writing job descriptions differently than large companies. Large companies may have already established norms for job descriptions and they rinse and repeat descriptions for jobs they hire for frequently. Small companies may be in more of a scramble to determine exactly what they are looking for. In both cases, the person who is hiring for the job will typically ask questions like, “What's our team trying to accomplish by hiring this new employee?” and, “Which sorts of skills do we need to get the right person so we can accomplish our business goals the fastest?”

how companies review resumes

It can be very hard to tell things about a person quickly from just a resume. One thing hiring managers and recruiters look for on resumes is years of experience. They also look for relevant skills that match the job description such as skills like, “managed projects” to “dealt with customers.” A lot of times companies overestimate the skills that they need and the years of experience that they need. They may start out thinking they need five years experience in project management for example. In reality though, they can train someone with two or three years experience if they are willing to work hard, work well with customers and are able to hit the ground running. It’s important not to disqualify yourself from a particular job just based off of the years of experience required. Instead, look more intently at the skills required and position your experience to reflect those skills.


Don’t immediately disqualify yourself if you are 70% of the way there, especially with smaller companies! If you have 3 years of good experience and match other criteria you can be the right hire for a job that asks for 5 years experience.

watch the video and learn how to judge job descriptions

Learn from Josh in this video tutorial as he searches for a few jobs and analyzes the job descriptions that pop up. A few of the jobs he reviews are:

  • Customer success specialist
  • Information Technology Systems / Database Administrator Analyst
  • Remote content writer

general rules for judging job descriptions

  • Think to yourself, why would someone go out of their way to add this to the description? What does this statement or requirement on the job description suggest?
  • Assume that some tasks will be performed more than others. Oftentimes, companies jot down every possible task that might come up in the job without stating which tasks are the most frequent.
  • Job descriptions are not created equal and shouldn’t be treated as a sole source of truth. Leverage all information online and from people you know to learn more about a day in the life on the job and how to best prepare yourself for the interview and ultimately the job. Good places to learn more about a job include the company’s website, specifically the About Us, Team and Careers or Jobs pages as well as websites like Glassdoor.
questions to ask about jobs.png

look for jobs based on the tasks you enjoy doing most

  • If you like writing blogs, for example, try searching on job boards for “blogs” or “blog writing”. Also a google search for something like “what jobs can I write blogs in” might lead you to some options
  • If you want a freelance or remote job, try searching existing job boards for those keywords, or a combination. For example, remote blog, might be broad enough to show every remote job that requires blog writing
  • Use search engines to search for a variety of keyword strings. You can further refine your search by doing many keywords like: remote blog social

learn about jobs and what a job description really means through other people

Never shy from a conversation where you can learn more about jobs and what skills go into them, especially if they are doing something you’re interested in! People are often the best resource. The internet sometimes gets out of date and people currently in the job are more likely to know the full story of what a job is like.