A company's vision statement helps keep a clear trajectory towards its ultimate goals. It also acts as a way to motivate employees and communicate core values to clients or customers. When job searching, it's helpful to know how to spot a company's vision statement, even if it is not listed clearly. This way, you can decide if a potential employer's values align with your own. In this article, we discuss what a vision statement is, why it's important, what it reveals about an employer and how to identify it in any job description.
What is a vision statement—how is it used?
Vision statements represent a company's core values and guide both its short- and long-term strategies. They are used to motivate employees and can make a business more relatable to its clients or customers. A vision statement also acts as a way to provide value for existing and potential investors.
The attitude, philosophies and beliefs of a professional group are evident in their vision statement. It can also be an indicator of the organizational culture of a workplace. When looking at "who" a potential employer is, look to their vision statement.
What does a vision statement look like?
They are concise, describe long-term goals and, most importantly, should be inspiring. The average vision statement is about 35 words long—fewer than the average tweet.
Why is a vision statement necessary?
As a company grows and changes, it can be easy to lose sight of the original purpose. As new employees join the company, a vision statement acts as a guide towards a common goal. When well-written, it can encapsulate the company culture and give potential clients or customers a reason to believe in the business.
A vision statement can be reviewed and amended as needed as the company evolves. The statement's core rarely changes, but companies may choose to tweak or include other elements that accurately reflect their vision.
Examples of vision statements and what they reveal about an employer
Vision statements can be invaluable in helping you find an employer that suits your career goals. Identifying it is just as vital as the explicit details, like salary or day-to-day tasks, of an employer's job description. Your ultimate goal is to find a workplace where you can further your career and achieve job satisfaction.
Here are some examples of inspiring vision statements from different industries:
Education: To e**stablish the values of integrity, honesty, respect, teamwork and dedication in the lives of each of our students to help them achieve academic excellence and become productive citizens.
If you hold a strong belief that education is about more than grades and academic knowledge, this school might appeal to you. Their focus on enriching the lives of the children both inside and outside the classroom suits your values, which means it is likely to foster a work environment you can be proud of.
Marketing agency: To c**reate and deliver results-oriented marketing campaigns and strategies that increase awareness and drive sales and growth for the brands we partner with.
The key to this vision statement is the focus on sales and growth. Not for the company itself, but instead for their clients. The choice of words "partner with" represents their collaborative mindset.
Mortgage broker: To provide fair and affordable mortgage options that help more people achieve their dreams of owning a home.
This company's core goal is to help people. Achieving dreams is the perfect example of a vision statement focused on the greater good.
A healthy business is one that has a passion for what they provide. A vision statement should convey dedication to what the company offers, with the client or customer's interest at the core. "Making a lot of money" is not a value-focused objective of a vision statement!
Read more: 10 Common Leadership Styles
Example of a vision statement in a job description
Using the above example in the education industry, a school's vision statement might translate to a job description seeking a teacher like this:
You will be working in a dynamic environment alongside inspiring, passionate and supportive team members. The ideal candidate will be flexible, adaptable and able to take initiative.
Most of all, you will enjoy working with children. Characteristics like kindness, tolerance, perseverance and credibility are vital to connecting with children.
Candidates need to have completed a minimum of four years of post-secondary education and a two-year teaching program from an accredited Canadian university (or international equivalent).
After reviewing this job description, you can see the school shares some of your important values. Their vision statement isn't explicit, but they include passion, teamwork and connection to the children as key values in their posting. The school is also looking for well-trained teachers demonstrating dedication to providing quality education for their students.
It is safe to assume their official vision statement reflects the comments in the job description.
Finding the vision statement in a job description
Vision statements are not laid out word-for-word in job descriptions, but a company's core values will still be apparent. You can identify a company's vision statement if you know what to look for in the details.
Pay attention to the tone to decipher a company's motives and what they're looking for in a candidate. If they're just looking for someone efficient, prepared to work long hours and driven by sales, you can safely presume their focus is not on their employees or even their customers.
2. Company values
When looking for a new job, see if you can identify passion in the job description to help refine your search. If you can see the business is excited about what they're hoping to achieve, you're off to a good start.
Here's a look at what values can establish in a job post:
- dedication to promoting shared values between its employees and customers
- a strong indication of what the company stands for
- evidence of whether you hold the same values and can see yourself working for a company that holds these values
3. Identify some keywords
Because the vision statement won't be pasted right into the job description, you need to interpret it on your own. By scanning the description for keywords, it helps you narrow your search and pinpoint the core vision. Some keywords to look out for include:
Of course, there are other keywords you might hope to see that are more specific to your industry or personal beliefs.
4. What are the job requirements?
The requirements of the role rely on the nature of your work, but they're also based on the employer's vision. An employer who wants to see their entire workforce succeed is likely to support and foster a healthy company culture.
Job descriptions need to include an overview of the day-to-day tasks and experience requirements. But they should also make you feel motivated, and that the requirements are reasonable. If it seems the employer has unrealistic expectations, their vision may follow suit.
5. Does the company have a trajectory?
If a business is proud of what they're accomplishing and dedicated to choosing the right candidate, they put effort into their job descriptions. It should be easy to identify what they're trying to achieve and the heart of their vision statement, among the other details of the job.
Be sure to look for detailed descriptions and reconsider investing too much time in applying for jobs with a vague job description. A business that can't express what they seek may not know what they need.
Overall job description and presentation
Here are some key attributes to look for in every job description:
- Edited, polished and proofread: Employers put pride and effort into job postings when they're working towards a vision they believe in. They want to find the right candidate for the job and therefore make sure to present themselves well.
- Targeted to their desired audience: Hardworking, dedicated and motivated employees are more likely to work for a company with strong values and objectives. A job description should include tailored keywords that are relevant to the job, not only general buzzwords.
- Positive attitude: It's not just candidates who should have a positive attitude during the hiring process. It's a great indicator of an inspired company with a well-thought-out vision statement when they're excited about the environment and bringing on a new team member. If that positivity shines through in the job description, you feel inspired, too.
If in doubt, you can look beyond the job description and go straight to the company's website. Their vision statement should be clearly listed somewhere on their page, usually in the "About Us" or "Company Info" section.
When a vision statement is relatable, you are more likely to feel passionate about your work and contribute in a way that benefits both you and the company. You're also more likely to find a long-term role that can help further your career.