But Really, What Are Job Requirements?

what are job requirements
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One of the first things that you will see when browsing for jobs or applying for vacancies is job requirements. But what are job requirements?

They are essentially something that details the job criteria needed to be met for the candidate and the responsibilities expected of a role, written out in words for understanding. In other words, they are the job qualifications, the job criteria, or the hiring requirements. They are most likely seen on company websites, professional networking sites, and job posting boards at employment centers.

What are job requirements?

To be more specific, job requirements list out the attributes, experience and skills an employer would like their ideal candidate for the job vacancy to have. It goes down to whether you meet the required qualifications, experience requirements and employment requirements, as the potential employer deems these to be essential job criteria for someone to perform to a satisfactory standard if hired on the job.  

Job requirement example for a data scientist role:

  1. You are excited and driven by our mission to improve patients’ health and save money for people around the world.
  2. You understand the challenges and opportunities that arise at the early stages of a startup and are determined and willing to tackle them.
  3. You strive to deliver work to a high standard and hold yourself accountable. 
  4. You are energized by finding creative solutions to help resolve issues and challenges.
  5. You are a self-starter who takes initiative and is ambitious, and thrives in an environment with minimal supervision. 

This example company particularly puts more emphasis on hiring based on personal qualities and soft skills, which align with the company’s values and culture.  

Job requirement example for an enterprise account executive role: 

  1. You have 5+ years experience in enterprise sales within a B2B SaaS vertical.
  2. You have a proven track record of engaging a consultative approach to sell to CXO-level sales executives. 
  3. You are experienced in prospecting and generating businesses, as well as exceeding quotas. 
  4. You are familiar with working with executive-level customers from Fortune 500 companies.
  5. You are full of passion, enthusiasm, energy and humor and you are excited by the selling and sales of technologies. 

In this example, the experience, qualifications, skills, attributes and motivation sought after in a candidate are all mentioned. 

Job requirement elements

As seen in the couple of examples above, there are a number of elements that can make up a job requirement.

✅ Skills

Each job vacancy will have different requirements of skills needed to complete the work successfully, which can usually be categorized into soft, hard and technical skills. 

Soft skills are, for instance, those related to communication, leadership and time management; whereas hard skills, also called technical skills, are those that can be taught and easy to measure or quntitfy, such as operating specific machinery or understanding of industrial technology. 

✅ Work experience 

This is another major section in job requirements, as employers tend to use this to gauge how much time you have spent and how much knowledge you have gained in a similar position to the one you are looking to get into. 

This will help them understand how familiar you are with such a position and whether you require more training before you begin. Senior roles will usually require more experience than junior roles, as the longer one works in a field the more responsibilities and knowledge one would generally accumulate.

✅ Education

Some job requirements will list out the educational qualifications employers expect candidates to have for a job, for instance, a degree from a certain subject, or high school diploma including certain grades. 

However, this is not always the case, as more employers now look to widen access to employability and promote diversity amongst their employees, where having relevant or equivalent work experience can replace, if not all, some of the required educational qualifications for a job vacancy. 

✅ Language

Being able to speak the language of the country you are hoping to be employed in or to the clients and customers you will be expected to work with is another key element of a job requirement. Employers will specify if they require specific languages as part of the job criteria, including the preference of language they may have and the level to which they require for the job.

✅ Certificates, licenses, & accreditations 

This job requirement is more particularly the case for job vacancies that are highly technical, often needing extensive training, completing rigorous training programs and obtaining certificates, licenses and accreditations. 

These are generally seen most within healthcare, but also traditional fields such as law and engineering. Having these up your sleeve can increase your chance of securing a role, as some employers may see this as an alternative to educational qualifications or relevant experience required for a job.

✅ Field knowledge

Having specific field knowledge is another strength that can make you stand out as a candidate, more so when looking to meet the requirements for a job. It can often be seen listed in job requirements as a separate category, since this can only be obtained through practical experience, personal curiosity and extensive research. 

An example of this would be having research experience specializing in cancer for a post-doctoral vacancy at a university. This is most seen listed as a job criterion in scientific and other highly technical fields. 

✅ Personal attributes

This section of a job requirement describes the persona best fitted into such a role and company. You will often find that details of the work environment, company culture and team dynamic will be listed as part of the requirements for the job, along with the specific traits and personalities that the employer deem will fit best with the team members and management team, and those that align with the company’s values. Some examples of this could include qualities like curiosity, creativity and empathy. 

✅ Physical attributes or abilities 

If there are any physical activities involved in the job, employers would often include them in the job requirements as well. These can be, for instance, standing for long periods of time and lifting heavy items or working outdoors. 

By indicating these details it allows candidates to determine whether they are able to carry out the work requirements, or share any reasonable changes that they might require for the job. 

How to know if you meet the job requirements?

Now that you have found some job vacancies you are interested in and looked through the job requirements, the next step would be to know if you meet the hiring requirements. Take a look below at some of the methods that will help you determine whether you meet the job requirements. 

✏️ List down the requirements mentioned in a job post.

Start by writing down and organizing the job requirements into a document that you can easily understand. You might want to consider typing this down or copying and pasting it in a document which you can access via the internet, in case that you lose the paper or have bad handwriting! 

✏️ Identify required and preferred qualifications for a job.

Next is to check which job requirements are required and which are preferred. Those qualifications that are required are those which must be met, and those that are preferred are those that would be advantageous to have.

✏️ Compare the minimum requirements with your skills and experience.

The required qualifications for a job are the minimum requirements you must meet to be considered for hiring. Comparing these with the skills and experience you have on record will help you understand whether you meet the job requirement, and hence help you decide whether you should begin filling out the job application.  

✏️ Check if your personality traits are required for the job.

Another way of knowing whether you meet the job requirement is to check if your personality trait would fit the type of person they are looking to hire. You can find this by looking at the personal attributes section in the job requirement, or checking the company’s values to see if it matches your personality traits. 

What if you don't meet all the job requirements?

In the case that you looked through the job requirements and realized you perhaps don’t meet all the hiring requirements, there are still some tips that will help you maximize your chance in securing the role you are interested in. 

🎯 Focus on your ability/skills that can solve problems the new hire needs to solve. 

One of the best ways to prove you have what it takes to do the job is to highlight the abilities and skills you have accumulated that will allow you to solve business problems companies are likely to face. 

More specifically, showcase that you understand the responsibilities new hires are expected to own and link that to what you have to offer. This can help employers see the attractiveness in hiring you, on top of the job requirements listed. 

🎯 Highlight relevant transferable skills.

Another way to prove you can excel at the job is to underscore your transferable skills, particularly those that are relevant to the role you are applying for. This could include those listed as part of the soft skills within the job criteria list, or perhaps not mentioned within the job requirement at all. 

These are skills that you gained which can be used in any job role, company or industry; for instance, foreign language proficiency, leadership skills or computer programming skills. 

🎯 Think of similar experiences you have.

Another tip to prepare yourself as an attractive candidate is by linking to similar experiences that you might have. Perhaps you don’t have relevant experience listed in the job criteria for the role you are applying to, or that you lack exposure in the field, but you can think of those experiences you have accumulated in the past and elements that are akin, and showcase how that will help you become a successful employee. 

For example, you can demonstrate that you have great customer service skills from your past experience volunteering at the local charity shop, where you managed the till and answered customer questions. 

🎯 Emphasize your compatibility with the company.

You may also focus on how compatible you are with the company you are applying to. This can be, for example, through the alignment of values between you and the company, or perhaps through your fit for the company culture and how you see yourself make a mark. This part may take some more thinking and brainstorming, as information like values and culture might not be listed within the job requirement. 

🎯 Avoid ATS Rejections.

This is perhaps one of the most mistaken steps candidates take when applying to jobs. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) is essentially a keyword-based software that helps companies filter out candidates that don’t meet the job requirements, meaning that it will automatically screen out anyone that doesn’t tick all the boxes, with no leeway around it. 

To avoid this, you should consider reaching out to hiring managers or recruiters, as they are more likely to bring in personal judgment and make expectations if they find you interesting. 

🔑 Key Takeaways:

In summary, job searching is not an easy process, but understanding the importance job requirement plays as part of the application process is one of the key factors in securing your dream role.

Make sure to know what each of the elements within a job requirement represents, how to check whether you meet the job requirements, and what to do if you don’t quite meet everything listed in the job criteria.

Above this, stay positive and keep working hard, then you will be one step closer to the job you want! 

With Cake, you can easily create a resume online, free download your resume in PDF, and utilize ATS-compliant templates to create a resume. Create your resume online (free download) now and land your dream job!

--- Originally written by Wayne Chang ---

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