6 Steps to Evaluate a Job Description - Part 2
Job openings are posted every day, providing professionals almost countless chances to find and seize a new career opportunity. Here, I will discuss the final three of six essential steps to evaluating job descriptions and how to gauge your strengths to ensure you apply to the openings that fit you best. If you missed it, or would like a refresher, click here to check out Part 1 of the Tips.
4) Down to Brass Tacks
Before starting the application process, decide if you are willing to relocate, travel extensively, endure a long commute, or would be comfortable telecommuting. If a job listing requires a commitment you are unwilling to make, or that would put a tremendous strain on your personal life, you should likely keep looking.
Compensation plays a large part in establishing a position's desirability for many candidates. Frustratingly, hiring managers often omit salary information from job descriptions, or include noncommittal phrases, such as “commensurate with experience.” You can get a feel for what the position might pay by searching for similar listings that do post salary information, or by visiting online resources, such as Salary.com. While you may not want to rule out a position simply because it pays less than your previous or current job, before submitting your resume make sure the opening’s positive factors compensate for any cut in wages.
Some listings may ask you to submit a salary history along with your resume. It is often best to translate past compensation into annualized numbers for easy comparison. However, if you are applying for a sales job, for example, it might make sense to quote your previous base salaries and percentage commissions. If your salary history does not justify getting paid what an opening is offering, make sure applying for the position is not significantly overreaching. As long as the rest of your portfolio can compensate, salary history in itself likely will not eliminate your chances of being hired.
5) Where Do You Fit In the Timeline?
Many professionals spend their careers moving from one full-time, permanent position to another. On the other hand, some engineers, programmers, developers, and other professionals are more accustomed to contract positions with fixed lengths. In most cases, the length and terms of hire for a position are clearly spelled out in a listing.
You should not necessarily exclude a position based solely on its length. This is especially true if you are looking for a job in a tight market or trying to break into a popular industry. Even if you are used to permanent positions, a contract or temp-to-hire position could be the stepping stone to the perfect job for you down the line. It is best to keep position length in mind, but to put more weight on other factors included in the listing during your evaluation.
Another detail to keep in mind regarding time is how soon you’ll be expected to start. If you need three weeks to settle your affairs and relocate, but the opening expects you to start next Monday, clearly this is not the job for you. Conversely, if the opening sounds great from the listing, but the starting date is three months out, you will have to consider if you can wait that long. If your industry lends itself to it, this might be an instance where you could take on temporary work to fill the gap before your full-time role begins.
6) Avoid the Snack Bar – There’s No Need for Concessions
Many candidates who choose to work with CareerEncore because they are dissatisfied with their current job have admitted they only took the job in the first place because they knew it would be easy to get and were hired quickly. If, when looking at a job listing, you find yourself rationalizing multiple negatives or overlooking apparent downsides, keep looking – there is a better opening out there for you.
Rather than wasting your time half-heartedly applying to several positions you have convinced yourself you could tolerate, narrow down the job listings pool to a handful of openings in which you are sincerely interested. On the flip side, especially after a long fruitless search, it is easy to get overexcited when you finally locate a promising listing. In this case, it is best to take a break and look back at the listing later, to ensure your initial enthusiasm didn’t cloud your judgment.
Evaluating job listings can be a long and tedious process, but if you dedicate the time to complete a thorough evaluation, you will not be disappointed. Most professionals spend decades of their life building their careers. Searching for an opening in which you will flourish is well worth the initial time investment.
If you, or someone you know, is looking for a job and would like to partner with an industry-insider, I encourage you to reach out to CareerEncore (we even offer a $500 bonus if you refer a friend)! We would love the opportunity to help find the ideal job for you.
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CareerEncore is a boutique recruiting firm dedicated to providing Greater Boston-area technology companies with exceptional talent. If you’ve proven yourself at a tech-driven company, functional experience aside (development, systems, marketing, sales, finance, operations, executive suite, etc.), we can help you find your next great opportunity. In particular, we are always looking for skilled software engineers, programmers, and developers. With all of our candidates and clients, we forge lasting partnerships. Our commitment to understanding your needs, coupled with our years of industry experience, uniquely enables us to successfully match talent with opportunity.
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