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As you look through job listings, you’ll start to see the same format popping up again and again. If you’re just starting your search for your first job, you may be unsure about how to use the information in these job descriptions. To help you out, here are some tips for reading and responding to job descriptions.

Pay attention to the preferred and required qualifications

The job qualifications list is one of the most important parts of the job description. This list may include:

  • Education level
  • Work experience
  • Required licenses or certificates
  • Required skills

This list will typically be broken up into preferred and required qualifications. The most important qualifications will often be listed first, so if you meet those qualifications, be sure to emphasise them in your cover letter. If you have a qualification that’s similar to one the employer listed, also try to mention it in your resume or cover letter.

Read through the job duties

Employers will also often include a list of duties required for the job. These duties can vary wildly from job-to-job, even if the job titles are the same. Similar to the qualifications, the job duties are 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. Then, include some of what you listed in your cover letter.

Check for questions or keywords

Sometimes, employers will ask candidates to answer a question or use a certain keyword in their application to make sure that they thoroughly read through the job description. This question may be something simple, or it might be an important part of the application. Before you move away from the job description and start writing your cover letter, be sure to double check all the requirements in the description.

Use the description in your cover letter

Recruiters and Employers want to know that you carefully read the description and understand what the job entails. One way to show this is to use the description in your cover letter. Put some of the job description into your own words, and say how your skills match what’s being described. For example, if one of the job duties is managing meetings, you could discuss a particularly successful meeting you organised at your previous job. Or, if you’re just coming out of college and don’t have professional experience yet, you could discuss club meetings you’ve held, or class discussions you’ve led. When you use the description in your cover letter, you’ll show the company that you spent time thinking about their job listing, and that you understand how your unique skillset will fit into the company.

Know the lingo

When you’re reading through job descriptions, be sure to look out for common phrases, and carefully read through the job qualifications and duties before deciding if you want to apply for the job. Doing this helps ensure that you’re applying for jobs that will be a great fit for you.

Reference: Reuben Yonatan 


  • As a Global IT director with General Motors, it’s critical that I source high calibre technical candidates every time. ERS bring such a level of confidence and integrity to the pipeline of candidates that distinguishes them from everyone else in the market. ERS is about relationship building, getting to know our company, our management team and our requirements. They assist tailoring job specifications to ensure the widest range of candidates are attracted to the job profiles. ERS hands on screening of candidates means that we have an excellent ratio of interviews to job offers and subsequently, shorter ramp-up cycles, improved business value, increased efficiency and low attrition. Candidates are not just screened based on their CVs, ERS invests a lot of time to get to know the candidates and this profiling gets best results, both for my teams and for the prospective candidates. Our local team has hired successfully through ERS from multiple countries which means our teams are also very diverse in their skills, experiences and cultures. The technical roles filled range from Senior managers, Architects, Java developers, Mainframe, Middleware, SAP, High-performance computing, Mobile Development, Infrastructure, scrum masters and a wide range of global operational roles. Global IT Director General Motors

  • ERS, part of the Casseo Group were engaged on a critical programme aimed at further enhancing Dell’s renowned Supply Chain model for outbound logistics in EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa). The ERS team immediately “hit the ground running” and added immense value in augmenting the internal Dell IT team seeking to expedite this critical project.  They brought a strategic and realistic view of the possibilities for the project, as well as a professional focus on delivery of a quality product to agreed timescales.  They managed a wide range of internal relationships, as well as cementing the external commitments needed from Dell’s partners to make the project a reality.  Throughout the project life cycle, they always brought a practical perspective to the table when wrestling with a complex project, and executed creative and innovative solutions to ensure success. A very worthwhile partnership which I would eagerly recommend to those in search of external expertise and commitment in meeting their project commitments. Dell

  • GE Financial Insurance (now Genworth Financial) engaged ERS as part of the Casseo group, to assist in the delivery of a complex cross-functional project. The project entailed managing the IT Infrastructure and providing IT Support to assists a dedicated debtor recovery team that was set up specifically for the project. Based in Birmingham, ERS leveraged excellent project management and technical skills to quickly win the confidence of the local team. Over a period of time, ERS as part of the Casseo group worked hand-in-hand with this team to deliver an outstanding result where significant more debts were recovered than had been thought possible.  I have no hesitation in recommending ERS and the Casseo Group. Programme Manager, Genworth Financial

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