Put Your Blinders On Before You Read This!

Part 18 of 21 in the Series: Career Advice - Ask IT Career Coach
Put Your Blinders On Before You Read This!
Put Your Blinders On Before You Read This!

Blinders are useful in potentially distracting situations because they increase one’s ability to focus.

For example, blinders are useful for removing potentially distracting or scary scenes from a horse’s vision.

By preventing the horse from seeing everything in it’s peripheral vision, the rider can better control the horse’s focus or keep it on target.

So, what does “blinders on horses have to do with job descriptions”?

As you go about reading job descriptions and applying to jobs, you may become distracted, discouraged or even depressed by the skills or experience requirements posted on these job descriptions.

The posted requirements posted may overwhelm you, cause you considerable agitation or cause you to lose hope and count yourself out before you even apply for the job!

The solution? Put your job description blinders on …

#1: Give Yourself A Gut Check:

After reading a job description, ask yourself this singular, most important question: “do I have the ability to do this job?

If the answer to this simple gut check is a yes; go ahead and e-mail your resume, regardless of the skills you seem to be lacking based on the job description!

A lot of the confusion with job descriptions stems from the fact that they are not written by technical folks or their managers but by Human Resources (HR) professionals, recruiters and staffing agencies.

I have had to help out HR professionals and recruiters with the wordings on job descriptions because they couldn’t understand the jobs, tools or careers they were hiring for, which in turn, impaired the clarity of the job description.

Even when technical folks (business analysts, computer programmers, project managers, etc.) write job descriptions, HR folks still extract sections from these, rewrite them based on their understanding before posting the final job description!

Unfortunately, the result is pain, confusion or discouragement for the professionals reading the job description.

#2: Put Your Job Description Blinders On:

So, to read or interpret job descriptions accurately, you must learn how to put filters on sentences, phrases or even entire paragraphs that serve only to discourage or distract you!

Here are some examples of misleading or inaccurate job descriptions:

  1. When a business analyst description specifies a Use Case Modeling tool as a required skill, put your job description blinders on!

    Why?

    Well, if you really understand Use Cases, you can create the document in any reasonable tool, even if you have to learn that Use Case modeling tool on the job.

    Information technology (IT) tools are generally designed to work for their users and not against them.

    So, if you really understand Use Cases, you can learn any new Use Case modeling tool in a reasonably short time and then write Use Case with that tool.

    If you are a qualified business analyst, apply for the job and confidently explain why your knowledge / skill in Use Cases is more important than the knowledge of one Use Case modeling tool versus another.

    What the employer really needs is your ability to write Use Cases and not the knowledge of a specific Use Case tool … that has little or no business value!

  2. When a programming job description specifies Visual Studio 2005 / 2008 / 2010 as a required skill instead of a specific programming language skill (C# or VB.NET), put your programming job description blinders on!

    Why?

    For all practical purposes, if you have good C# or VB.NET programming skills, you also have Visual Studio skills.

    Don’t obsess over the lack of a Visual Studio version posted on the job description because it was probably written by a non-technical person for whom the Visual Studio version number is a big deal!

On a final note, whenever you see a potentially distracting job description, put your blinders on, write up your resume to match the job description and then go ahead email your resume!

Can you think of any distracting, misleading or inaccurate requirements you have come across while reading job descriptions?

If you have, I will be glad to hear more about it …




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