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Decoding Job Descriptions

Why are we here?

  • Build your confidence when looking and applying for jobs by going through actual job postings and understand which you are qualified for and actually want
  • Conclude by taking a dive into what employers want and going through job postings you may be struggling with

Good Job Description

  • A good job description will delve into the duties to be performed by the employee, its purpose, and the scope of the work to be completed.


  • A job description is the place to find the right keywords to use, as well as give you an idea of what the employer will look for in the right candidate.

Job Duties

  • Duties can vary wildly from job-to-job, even if the job titles are the same.

  • Often listed in order from most important to least important.

  • As you read through the job duties, make a list of the one you’ve done in your previous jobs


  • Preferred and Required qualifications
    • Education level
    • Work experience
    • Required licenses or certificates
    • Required skills

Jargon and Buzzwords

  • Words and phrases are often just buzzwords that recruiters and managers use in every job description
    • Passion, commitment, team player, responsibility, dynamic interpersonal skills, ability to work independently, detail oriented, and analytical skills.

Jargon and Buzzwords

  • Narrative: What story are they trying to tell you?

    • Who are they as a company?
    • What do they do?
    • Why do they do it?
  • Characteristics: What features are they advertising?

    • Location
    • Beverages
    • Activities

Spot a Fake Job Posting

  • Avoid postings that sound too good to be true

    • Overly high salary for low skills level
    • Job posts that state no skills or experience required
    • Promise perfect hours, salary, and benefits
  • If it truly were a perfect job, they would not need to advertise

  • Avoid job postings that ask you to pay a fee

    • Legitimate recruiters are paid by employers, not by potential job candidates.
    • A requirement to pay for training materials or web training seminars should also raise a red flag. A legitimate company will not require you to pay for your own training.
  • Requesting your personal information

    • Ask for your personal information
      • Birth date, social security number, or mother’s maiden name
    • This is info you shouldn't have to give out until you've received a job offer—if you give them at all.


  • What do employers want?
    • Proof of work
    • Ability to learn and grow
    • Individual and team projects
    • What value do you bring to their story?
    • Hungry, Humble, Smart

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Can I grow at this company?
  • Does this fulfill my passions?
  • Is the salary worth my career move?
  • Do my skills fulfill the requirements?
  • Will I fit into the company culture?

What Do You Want?

  • What are you looking for in an employer?
    • Flexibility options, location, company size, a fun office culture, or even a transparent leadership system.
  • Compare your wants/needs to the job description

Ready to Apply?

  • Do your homework ...

    • Did you find the narrative? Does it speak to you?
    • Dig a bit more into their work, code, and team
    • LI, GitHub, FB, Twitter, Meetups, and community
    • Put time into the application process
    • Update your resume to fit the position
  • What is your last step...

    • How does the employer want you to respond?
    • Make sure you've found out the company's preferred method of communication.
    • Don't plan to email a resume if the organization wants you to apply through its online job portal.

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