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When applying for a job, most applicants tend to be so eager for something new, or something paying for that matter, that they throw their hat in the ring for any and everything that they deem themselves qualified for.

For some, applying for a job is a numbers game, with the perception that the more positions you apply for, the better your chances at landing your new dream job. Even if you are currently implementing this strategy of “apply now, ask questions later,” it may behoove you to read and fully understand the job description that has been made available by the company and its hiring manager.

MUST READ: Applying For Multiple Positions At One Company: Smart Or Set Up For Failure?

The importance of fully dissecting a job description is tied to successfully articulating your applicable work experience, strengths and other pros which will benefit the company and get you the job.

Here are a few tips for fully dissecting a job description to decipher if you are a good fit for it and the company:

1) Read the Entire Description

As we are all pressed for time, or just plain lazy, sometimes it is easy to just scan a job description, pick out the words that apply to our work experience and magically determine that this is the perfect job for us. This, of course, is not always true and/or best for our careers. By not reading the entire job description line for line, you may skip over certain requirements that you absolutely abhor. Are you a parent who HAS to have a flexible work schedule? Do you have great disdain for mundane tasks such as data entry? Are you planning on taking on a second job? Be certain that the job requirements are aligned to your personal and career goals so you aren’t getting yourself into a position that you will later regret.

2) Apply Your REAL work experience and education

With your resume resting nicely on your desk, take a pen or pencil and kindly check off all of the experience and education required for the position. Is the job seeking entry level applicants or someone with five years grass roots marketing experience? Will someone with a particular undergraduate degree suffice, or is the company looking for an applicant with a graduate or post-graduate degree? Fresh out of law school I was applying for Director of Business and Legal Affair positions. Why?….Just Why? I did not have the requisite work experience those positions required, thereby wasting my time and the hiring managers’ time.

3) Prepare examples

When applying and/or interviewing for a position, it is important to give real examples of the work you have done in that particular field. A partner at a firm I once worked for told me the reason he hired me over another applicant was that I came into my interview with bullet points of my previous work experience and examples of how I can apply those specific experiences to his firm’s current and future work needs.

4) Understand What Is Negotiable

It has been reported that approximately 10-20% of job requirements are negotiable. There is a difference between a preference, and a requirement in a job description. Be certain to carefully read and ascertain what is needed versus what is wanted. Preferences may sometimes be negotiated or swayed.

Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates ( . She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 10 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.


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The Trick To Understanding A Job Description Before Applying & Interviewing  was originally published on