If you’re in the market for a new job, you’re no doubt aware of how important it is to read those online listings carefully. Glossing over certain details could cause your application to get needlessly tossed out or prompt you to apply for jobs that aren’t right for you.
The latter, in fact, is a pretty big concern. Not only does applying for the wrong job waste your time, but it also puts you in a position in which you might accept a role you wind up hating. And that’s where reading job descriptions strategically comes into play. If you take the time to look out for red flags, you might save yourself the hassle of applying for roles that only spell bad news. Here are a few specific warning signs to be aware of.
1. A lengthy list of requirements
Employers want to make sure they’re hiring qualified candidates for the positions they have open. But there comes a point at which a given company might have its expectations set too high. If a single job description comes with a lengthy list of highly specific requirements–ones that the average professional in your field is likely to fall short on– then take it as a sign that the employer might have unreasonable demands that could translate into a miserable working experience once you’re hired.
2. Missing job details
The point of a job description is to explain to candidates what a given role will entail and what requirements are needed to apply for it. If you stumble upon a job listing that’s missing lots of details, it’s a sign that the company behind it is disorganized or poorly managed (at least from a hiring or human resources perspective). Furthermore, missing details could be a sign that the company hasn’t yet determined what the associated job’s daily responsibilities will actually entail. And unless you’re ultra-flexible, that’s probably not a situation you want to sign up for.
3. No salary or benefit information
It’s not uncommon for companies to omit specific salary details in their job descriptions. Though you’ll sometimes see a salary range specified, employers generally don’t want to lock themselves into a preset number. This way, they have wiggle room to negotiate downward to save themselves money or upward when they find candidates they’re enamored with. That said, most companies are quick to talk up the stellar benefits they offer, whether it’s great health insurance, a hearty 401(k) match, or a generous paid-time-off policy. If you read a job description that makes no mention of salary or benefits whatsoever, then chances are neither is anything to write home about.
4. Too many buzzwords and clichés
When a company loads up a job listing with overused phrases that are designed to grab your attention but, in reality, mean little to nothing, it’s a sign that it hasn’t put a lot of thought into its description. And if it can’t make an effort when putting together a job post, it’s a sign that it might not make an effort in other regards–think responding to your application, among other things. Too many buzzwords is also a sign that an employer just isn’t genuine, and that’s reason enough to stay away.
In today’s relatively healthy job market, there’s no sense in selling yourself short. The next time you see a job description that features these red flags, take it as a sign to run the other way. Otherwise, you could wind up accepting a role that ultimately makes you miserable.