I don’t know about you, but I find it hard not to have my eyes glass over while reading job descriptions. It seems to me that they often put the most important information last, buried somewhere or disguised.
I am, of course, referring to the EXACT city location of the job in question. Hey, they don’t want to pay for relocation and they don’t want to get too many resumes, but then they go and use phrases like “Northeast.” It is hard to make any sense of it all.
Since I can’t post “Matt’s approach to writing position descriptions” on the Search Professionals website (because there isn’t one), we are probably stuck with this problem for the foreseeable future. Trust me, I do try to educate all recruiters who come my way, and I hope you do too. (Location, location, location!)
Then we come to the inevitable checklist. How seriously are we supposed to take the requirements? My pet peeve is the good old “CPA required.” If you have one, this probably doesn’t bother you. But, I have to ask, doesn’t 20+ plus years of work experience make up for this? (Okay, maybe not.)
There are positions where having a CPA is helpful. In the case of Corporate Controller type jobs, I do think this could be important, but more often than not, it is just part of someone’s checklist. It is actually a “nice to have,” but it has somehow graduated to an exalted status of a “must have.” It is really only there to have a basis for eliminating your resume.
The approach I suggest to all of these lists is an intelligent judgment call on your part. If the lead is very clear about location and you wouldn’t move there on a bet, don’t respond. If it is vague, they have no one to blame but themselves, so take a flyer on it.
The only caveat I will add is that a distinction needs to be made here as to the source of the lead.
If it is one of your esteemed fellow members who has provided this golden opportunity on a “please use my name” basis, I would ask you to be brutally honest with yourself as to your fit. Read the list several times and consider not responding if you fall into the “wish and a hope” category.
If it is a blind lead, I wouldn’t go bleary eyed trying to ferret out the true meaning of a vague position description.
Save your eyes for other things, like reading a good book or watching TV. (A little advice from your favorite Mr. Magoo.)