Today we are looking at Job Descriptions, and what are required vs. desirable skills. Now, we’ve all been there. You find the perfect job in your search; it seems the position was written just for you. The right job title, the perfect description; in your mind it seems perfect. Although, as you start read the description a bit more, you discover there’s a few items, skills, or talents you don’t have. Do you give up on applying for this position?
Employment descriptions are necessary to establishing a jobs duties and responsibilities. They can be used to set the necessary requirements for a position, and employers use them to maintain performance expectations from their employees. However, many job descriptions are written very lengthy and specific. And it is not uncommon, as a job seeker, to come across a position in which you meet most but not all of the listed requirements.
Now some employers properly split out the positions primary functions, required to be considered for that position. And they also list the “recommended” or “desirable skills” they would like for a candidate to have. Although, it is not uncommon to see a job description with both required aspects of the job, mixed in with recommended or desirable skills. If the employer did their work, they will describe the required functions of the position at or near the top of the job description. And they will define clearly what are the necessary qualifications or education that is required.
I always view job descriptions as an employer’s Wish List.
Sure they want somebody with an advanced degree, or skilled in every hardware or software tool used by the company. In most cases, it is rare for an employer to find a candidate with all of the required and desired skills, especially for job descriptions that are lengthy and very detailed. As a job candidate, if you meet 70% or more of the listed qualifications, apply for that position!
There is too schools of thought here:
First, an employer must write the description with a lot of detail, because they don’t know who out there, and they want to appeal to as many potential candidates as they can. Writing a detailed job description also helps the employer weed out unqualified candidates who have little or none of the skills required.
Second, and this focuses on you, the job candidate. You want a position that will allow you to advance your career, and for that you want to apply for positions that you do not meet all of the desirable skills listed.
Now, a little more on these terms, required vs. desirable, or recommended. Required is just that. You need to have these skills and required items for a particular position. If a position requires an advanced degree, then this is the standard all candidates will be evaluated to. However, if the position says advanced degree highly desirable, it’s open season for anyone who has less than an advanced degree, to apply for those positions.
Remember, a job description is an employer’s Wish List. They’re probably not going to find a candidate who has all of the skills and experience listed on their detailed job description. If you meet the primary job requirements, and have 70% or more of the items listed, you owe it to yourself to apply and interview for those positions.