Excerpts from Actual Job Posts
For many job posts, the “requirements” are absurd. They’re too long, unnecessary, or they make absolutely no sense. To give you an idea of what I mean, here’s a sampling of excerpts from real job posts I found. These are so ridiculous, I couldn’t help but add some childish and sarcastic commentary.
Responsible for architecting and defining the presentation layer framework to solve complex designs that reflect the creative and art direction provided
Wow, sounds fancy!
Ah, that’s good. Don’t want those Web1.0 people applying.
- Client end templates/JSON integration
- UI design/building web pages
- Jquery (JQuery UI)
- HTML 5.0/Ajax
I didn’t know those were all interchangeable terms!
- Provide status to supervisor as required.
- Escalate issues and risks to supervisor in a timely manner.
- Provide technical inputs on work estimating.
- Inform the technical architect, technical lead and project manager of any issues that may affect any other areas of the project.
This place sounds like it’s a high energy work environment that appreciates creativity!
Reading Between the Lines
Now that I’ve had my fun, I’d like to delve into a more constructive exercise by dissecting a real job post and rewriting it to sound better. First, let’s take a look at the job post. This is for a “front-end developer” position.
- B.S./B.A. Computer Science or related field
- 4-6 years of professional website coding experience
- Expert with HTML/CSS, web standards, best practices and writing clean, semantic code
- Understanding of OO principles, especially with regard to HTML/CSS/JS and creating reusable UI components
- Expert knowledge of browser quirks and creating web apps that are consistent across all major browsers
- Experience optimizing front end code for performance/speed
- Experience optimizing front end code for SEO
- Experience developing with an IDE such as Eclipse, using SVN and working on web projects in a team environment – meeting deadlines
- Ability to code detailed, functional pages from mockups in collaboration with web designers
- Ability to work with java developers to integrate front end code with server side technology
- Working knowledge of HTML5, CSS3 and current trends
Believe it or not, this isn’t the worst out there. It’s too verbose and needs a lot of cleaning up, but I can at least get an idea of their needs. Let’s look at some of the highlights.
Right up front, they’re asking for a computer science degree. There’s a small chance that part of the work will actually require you to have a deep understanding of computer science, but most of the time this isn’t necessary. If you take a closer look, it also says “…or related field” which implies flexibility. I’ve written about college degrees before so I won’t go into too much detail here, but in most cases, you don’t actually need the degree they’re requesting. It’s just standard boilerplate stuff that they feel obligated to mention. I would interpret this as saying, “a college degree can be helpful, but we just want someone that’s smart and dedicated.”
Sometimes this is flexible as well. If you’re close with 3.5 years of coding experience, don’t assume that you’re automatically disqualified. Experience is often measured in years but sometimes that doesn’t map perfectly to the technology industry. Some people learn much faster than others. If you know that you’re just as talented as others that have more “years” of experience than you, then go for it.
So far this isn’t too bad. Unfortunately they continue with roughly a dozen more lines that say basically the exact same thing, which just confuses things. Let’s keep going…
This is the real substance of this job post. It sounds like on a day-to-day basis, you’re going to be working with Java developers to integrate front-end code. Typically Java developers use Eclipse, but it also sounds like you can use the editor that you feel most comfortable with. This would be a good thing to ask about during an interview.
Now, let’s rewrite this so it’s easy for human beings to interpret.
Job Posts: Rewritten
Here’s how I would rewrite the “requirements” for this job post. Please keep in mind that I don’t actually have any relationship with this company. This is just my own interpretation based on my prior experience in the industry. Every job posting is different and you should ask for clarification if necessary.
- Excellent communication skills and the ability to work well with others
- Ability to work with a version control system (like SVN) in a team environment
- Capable of balancing detail oriented work with important project milestones
- Experience working with Java developers using IDEs like Eclipse is a big plus
- 4-6+ years of experience preferred
The word “qualifications” feels a lot better than “requirements” in this case, because usually not all of these are strict requirements. Rather, this is just a list of things that makes you increasingly likely to be a good candidate for the job, which is the case with most web design job posts.