Q: I saw a job advertised last night that I’m very interested in. I know I can do it, but, to be honest, the job spec has almost put me off. I don’t actually understand some of the items listed and others are not really necessary for the role, I believe. Should I walk away now or still go for it? (TG, email).
A: Job specs are a mixed bag. And I suspect as we hit into a challenging economic time, we could see more of the scenario you outline, writes Mary O’Brien-Killeen, Career Coach, Slí Nua Careers.
Job specs often appear like wish lists and the candidate with all that the spec requires hasn’t been born yet. In my view, a lot of what appears in some job specs is more suited to the contract.
It sounds to me like you have forensically gone it and reduced it to what matters. If, having penetrated the jargon and overlooked the hyperbole, you still feel you are an appropriate candidate for the job, get cracking on your application.
The over-complication of job specs is a widespread phenomenon and I have no doubt it scares off good candidates. When push comes to shove, most jobs are decided on the basis of a few criteria: and if, as seems the case, you fit the bill for what the job is ultimately about, you shouldn’t hesitate to apply.
Your application should reflect what you believe to be the key elements of the role. You needn’t exhaustively cover every single topic they have raised – indeed, by cutting to the chase in your application, you may convince them that you know what the job is actually about. That could be a good start.
Mary O’Brien-Killeen is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers in Claremorris, Co. Mayo.
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