When exploring potential job opportunities, understanding how to read a job description is crucial. Each description provides initial insights into the hiring process, the employer’s organization, specific duties associated with the job, and the qualifications required for each role. This knowledge is key to grasping the selection criteria used by the company. You’ll often find that job descriptions follow a standard format with several common sections, which we will detail in the upcoming article.

Let’s evaluate if the position aligns with your career aspirations and skillset. Here’s how 👇

What is a job description
How to read a job description
Hidden aspects in job descriptions

All these tips will help you decide if you are the right candidate for the job and if the job is the right one for you.

What is a job description

A job description is a formal document that outlines the specific duties, responsibilities, and requirements of a particular position within an organization. It serves as a comprehensive guide for both potential candidates and current employees. Additionally, job descriptions often include information about the working conditions, reporting relationships, and potential career paths, making it a crucial tool for an effective job application process and candidate selection.

There are a few aspects that any job description should include. When reading a job advertisement, ask yourself if:

  1. It offers basic information about the company such as its mission, vision and values.
  2. Do you Receive enough information about the job function.
  3. The job description helps you assess if you are the right fit for the role.
  4. The salary and benefits meet your expectations.

If your answer to all of these questions is yes, you can be confident to continue with more detailed research about the company and the role.

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If your answer is no, you may want to run additional research regarding the company and the role, or reconsider your job application. You might end up applying for a role or a company that is not the right fit for you.

How to read a job description

Reading a job description effectively involves analyzing the document to understand the specific responsibilities, qualifications, and expectations associated with the position.

But how can you do that?

Engage deeply with each segment. Parse out key responsibilities to visualize your daily life, align your strengths with the required qualifications, and understand the workplace dynamics. Understanding this blueprint thoroughly means you’re not just applying for a job. You’re finding your fit and future within a company, transforming a simple application into a thoughtful career move.

job description template and responsibilities

Check if the job specification contains additional details that can help you better understand the role. This could include:

  • A brief description of recruiter expectations, why this position is open and how it will impact the future state of the team.
  • Testimonials from the leaders and team members.
  • Along with the job description, an explanation of the hard and soft skills needed within the team.

Look for the information that’s offered, to have a better understanding if you’re the right fit for the role. That will surely help you take the right decision.

Moreover, conduct research to make sure the company is the right one for you. We explain how to do that in the ‘Company evaluation’ fact-sheet. 👇

Job description responsibilities vs requirements vs offerings

A recent article from zoomshift.com is showing that 72% of hiring managers claim they provide clear job descriptions, but just 36% of candidates agree.

Any job specification should be balanced when it comes to the information on the role responsibilities, salary and benefits. As a candidate, you deserve to receive an accurate description of your potential future tasks, together with a reasonable set of skills and capabilities needed to perform the role successfully.

For example, a job specification containing only a few brief bullet points on the scope should trigger a red flag. Combined with an extensive list of requirements, it might indicate that the company doesn’t have realistic expectations from their candidates, and employees as well.

Hidden aspects in job descriptions

Most companies won’t admit you will face long working hours or a cranky manager. That’s why it’s important to learn how to read a job description between the lines.

job description hidden aspects

This will help you find useful hints about whether the role and the company are right for you, and will help you decide if you want to prepare for an interview beforehand.

Some positive examples of hidden-meaning aspects could be:

  • The job description emphasizes the company’s regional/global presence. This could indicate exposure to foreign stakeholders and potential international opportunities.
  • The responsibilities and needed skills are clearly noted. This could indicate that the organization has a well-defined vision and strategy, with a clear understanding of where the role sits, and what are the key success factors.

On the other hand…

  • A job description with a long, repetitive list of requirements may suggest the company has unrealistic expectations for candidates.
  • Emphasizing on your flexibility, adaptability, and ability to execute tasks might suggest a chaotic and time-intensive work environment.

Stay curious and attentive and you’ll certainly succeed in applying for the right roles in the right companies, to step up your career!

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