6 Red Flags You Should Pay Attention to in a Job Description

young woman is lying on the grass and thinking

Young woman thinking about job offer | iStock.com/LittleBee80

Searching for a new job, especially when finances are tight, can be a daunting task. As soon as you wake up, you head to your computer and frantically search for job postings. And each time you send out a resume, you say a prayer as if your life depended on it. When the phone rings, you pick up eagerly, hoping it’s a hiring manager. Much to your dismay, it’s usually just another bill collector calling to harass you about an unpaid debt. You keep explaining you’ll get a job soon, and plead for another 30 days to pay your bill (if only it worked that way). The cycle continues each month and you’re running out of money.

Unfortunately, your anxiety about finding work could cloud your judgment. Not paying close attention to a job description could cause you to accept a position at a job you end up hating. Even if you’re desperate for work, it’s important to read the job description closely. There are some red flags that could signal trouble down the road. Here are six key terms you should pay attention to in a job description. In some cases, certain words can tip you off about whether you’re interviewing for the job from hell.

1. Flexible

Stressed employee

Stressed employee | iStock.com

Be prepared to work late at night and on the weekends at a moment’s notice. Going above and beyond to get the job done won’t be rewarded; it will be expected. If you thrive off praise and expect a pat on the back for a job well done, this isn’t the job for you. Going the extra mile is just part of the job. If the job description is asking you to be flexible with your time, anything is fair game when it comes to your work schedule. You can forget about work-life balance.

2. Fast-paced

man sleeping on office desk

Unhappy employee | iStock.com

Forget taking time for yourself to eat lunch and enjoy a moment alone. You’ll be so busy you’ll barely have a chance to catch your breath upon entering the office. The trip to your desk will be peppered with queries about the status of assignments and requests for assistance on a new project. And bathroom breaks? You might have to hold it until you get home. Unless the job you’re applying for requires speed (an emergency room, for example), you should see this as a red flag. There are a few questions you should ask when you see the term fast-paced in a job ad. Why must you be in such a hurry? Are they short on staff? If you decide to go ahead and interview for the job, make sure to ask these questions. If you’re not satisfied with the answer, move on.

3. High stress

Stressed business people at work

Stressed business people at work | Liaison

This one is obvious but if you’re desperate for a job, you might overlook it. Don’t. An employer who requests future employees to be able to manage high-stress situations will work you into the ground. If you like an adrenaline rush, apply for the job, but if this isn’t the case, don’t send that resume.

4. Self-starter

Frustrated employee

Frustrated employee | iStock.com

Do you need a gentle hand to guide you along your career path and show you the ropes? You may want to look elsewhere for employment. It’s possible you’ll receive little to no support from an employer looking for self-starters. If you’re just beginning your career and you need some hand-holding, think about searching for a job that has a built-in training program or consider working for an employer who is willing to train new hires.

5. Motivated

Upset employee with hands over face

Overwhelmed worker| Thinkstock

Motivated is just another version of self-starter — with a twist. In job-description speak, motivated generally means the employer doesn’t really know what the job should entail. You’ll basically be making things up as you go along. Good luck with that.

6. Resourceful

Notebooks in variety of colors

Office supplies | iStock.com

If a job description asks for a resourceful employee, this could mean you’ll be responsible for paying for things like your own office supplies. If you need to travel on work business, you guessed it, you’ll be footing the bill for all your costs.

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