When searching for a job, you should never haphazardly apply to every opening that bears the same job title you’re looking for. Instead, take the time to read the job ad to see if you are truly qualified for the position.

Below are some key sections to look at when reviewing job posts to determine whether you should proceed with sending in your resume:

1. The Company Behind the Ad

Visit the company’s website and the LinkedIn profiles of key players at the organization. Read the employer’s mission statement or “About Us” page. Does the company have the same values as you? If not, do not apply. You won’t be happy working for a company that does not share your values.

Also, consider whether the company hires people like you. What is the culture like? Who are the employees? Can you see yourself fitting in?

2. Duties and Responsibilities

Have you previously performed the same kind of job duties or held the same kind of responsibilities? Are you willing to take on the duties and responsibilities listed in the ad? If, for example, the ad mentions second or third shifts and weekend work, you shouldn’t apply for the role unless you’re happy to work such a schedule.

3. Minimum Qualifications

Read this section very carefully. Do you have the desired degree? If not, but you will have that degree within six months, then I recommend applying for the position. Do you have the necessary license or certification? If you have a test date and know you will soon have the license or certification, be sure to include this on your resume when you apply. Can you pass a drug test? Do you have a valid driver’s license? Can you lift a certain number of pounds? These kinds of questions all need to be answered truthfully before you apply.

4. Preferred Qualifications

Do you meet the preferred qualifications? If yes, then apply for the position. If you do not meet these, you can still apply for the job, but realize job seekers who do meet these qualifications will also be applying.

You can also use the list of preferred qualifications as a set of new goals to meet at your current job. Ask for more responsibility, get that license or certification, or learn that new software. Start tracking your accomplishments so you can quantify the results of your actions.

5. Benefits or Total Compensation Package

Do you need medical and dental benefits? Is a 401(k) retirement program with company match important to you? Do you want vacation days? Only apply to jobs that meet your compensation needs.

6. Type of Job (Contract, Full-Time, Part-Time)

Are you willing to work the type of role being offered? Do not apply for a part-time role if you need full-time work. The same can be said regarding contract positions, as there is no guarantee the contract will be renewed.

7. How to Apply

Read this section carefully. The employer may require a variety of documents, such as college transcripts, licenses, certifications, cover letters, DD214 or SF15 forms if you’re a veteran, etc. You want to make sure you include all the requested information in your application.

Do not risk having your application flagged as spam by applying for jobs you are not qualified to do. Completing a review of the seven items listed above will aid you in determining which roles are really right for you. Studying the job ad closely can also help you tailor your resume and cover letter to the specific position, which will greatly improve your chance of getting an interview.

Jaynine Howard is a military veteran whose work as a career strategist and reinvention specialist has been recognized by professional organizations throughout the nation.

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