Overcoming the Job Description

BY: Jericho Lazo

The job hunt is a tiring and mentally exhausting process, from searching, to updating your resume, to creating the “perfect” cover letter and interviewing multiple times. All these tasks and hurddles to prove to a total stranger that you are the best possible candidate for a job that you may or may not even truly care about. Regardless of motive, it is easy for many to succumb to a burnout and feeling like all this was a waste.

A personal problem I have been trying to overcome is not allowing job descriptions give me anxiety or deter me from applying. When I start reading through the summaries I find myself focusing too much on what prefferred skills they want and start undermining my own personal accomplishments. Almost like I’m downplaying everything I have done and contributed in my previous jobs.

What I mentioned above is what is known as imposter syndrome. To simply put, it is psychological pattern where an individual doubts their accomplishments or fears they will be exposed as a ‘fake’ for their work. So although they have rightfully earned their achievements, they themselves don’t believe they are worthy of it. This topic is something I wish I had more time to dive deeper into, but that’s a whole other blog waiting to be written. In the context of job searching, this can pose a problem for many like me who feel they aren’t even worth the consideration to at least apply. And to that I say, you are worthy, you are capable, and you should apply anyways.

I’m not a sports guy, but like they say “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I’ve slowly made it a habit that whether or not I feel like I’m a fit for it, I still apply. Because the worse that can happen is receiving a no through email. That’s it. No harm no foul.

Before I share some of my own tips, here are some facts I’ve learned from panels and peers who work as recruiters:

  • Many job descriptions may include responsibilities that aren’t related to your day-to-day operations
  • Even if it says 2-3 years of experience required, you can still apply as someone with 0 years.
  • Most recruiters want to see if you’re teacheable and easy to work with
  • You don’t have to fit the job description 100%

That being said, it is perfectly normal and encouraged to apply to positions you feel is ‘out of reach’. Now obviously you can’t be applying to everything and anything, we still need to be realistic. But we can work towards meeting those bigger goals!

Here is a brief step-by-step on how I tackle the job descriptions:

  1. Read the job description a first time around, get a feel of what the job is
  2. Look into the company. Is this a brand that I support? Are they worth my time to apply? Can I see myself working here and be happy? If no to any of these, it’s easy to stop applying altogether and avoid the energy wasted
  3. If it turns out I do like the company and I do wanna apply, great! I then reread the job summary, but this time I copy/paste the description on a blank word doc
  4. As a I read through it I make multiple highlights/notes. Some of the things I look out for are:
    • Keywords that indicating the type of person they’re looking for
    • Responsiblities that are relevant to the experience I’ve had
    • Transferrable skills I have that will be useful in this position
    • Any specific phrases or wording they use to describe their culture. (*This is more so use in interviewing and writing your resume/cover letter. As you want to use similiar verbage to create familiarity between you and the company)
  5. After marking up my doc, I look over it and see whether or not I want to continue applying for it. If so I apply and pray that I make it through.

By breaking it down and highlighting specific details, it will make it easier to spot what the company is looking for and alleviate the pressure of having to check every box it may list. It is important to hone in on the parts you can fulfill and find confidence in the things you can bring to the table! Try it out and let me know what you think. It can be a bit time consuming, but overall I have been able to apply to opportunities more confidently and not feel so doubtful of my capabilities.

Job hunting is a job in itself and it can take weeks to months to find a role or company that will take you. Just remember that you are not alone in this and that there are many individuals, like myself, who are unemployed, fired and laid off due to this pandemic. Over 22 millions Americans last time I checked. So be kind to yourself, know that money can be earned, but your mental health and happiness cannot be easily rebuilt. As much time as you are putting towards applying to jobs or whatever goals you may have, put an equal amount of energy towards things that bring you joy and keep you grounded.

And remember, you got this.

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