What Are Job Requirements? (With Tips and Examples)
Updated August 17, 2023
When you're looking for a job, it's important to understand the qualifications and attributes the employer is looking for in potential job candidates. The list of job requirements is an important part of the job posting, which can help inform your resume writing for an effective application. Learning more about job requirements and how you can use them to your benefit can help increase your chances of getting invited to interview for a role.
In this article, we define what job requirements are, share common components of job requirements, provide tips to help you understand job requirements, and review examples of job requirements for selected jobs.
What are job requirements?
It can be beneficial to understand the answer to "What are job requirements?" during various phases of your career. Job requirements refer to the skills, attributes, and experience an employer expects a candidate to possess when hiring for a position. Many job postings include skills, education, experience, and personality traits required of candidates. Employers consider job requirements necessary to perform the role for which they are hiring. Candidates can review the job requirements to assess whether they qualify for the job. Other names for job requirements include selection criteria, job qualifications, or job prerequisites.
Common components of job requirements
Here are some of the most common job requirements components you're likely to find in a job posting:
When employers look for candidates to fill open positions, they typically outline the skills required. Every position requires unique hard and soft skills. Hard skills are technical skills necessary to perform the job, while soft skills entail the ability of a candidate to relate well to others. For example, hard skills for a nursing position include knowledge of medical terminologies or the ability to execute doctor's instructions, while soft skills can involve teamwork and communication skills.
Work experience requirements relate to the previous roles you have worked and the amount of time you have spent in each role. Employers use this job requirement to attract candidates with a certain amount or type of work experience and may seek employees who have worked in similar positions.
Other employers may not require candidates to have previous experience, making the role it suitable for candidates who are just entering the workforce, recently graduated, or changing careers. If you have unrelated work experience, you can include the transferable skills gained in those roles to help demonstrate your suitability for the position on your resume.
Some positions require candidates to have a certain level of education, such as a high school diploma, a bachelor's degree, or a graduate degree. Depending on the employer and the position, some educational requirements may outline vocational training, especially for hands-on and manual roles such as plumbing or electrician jobs. Employers may also specify the areas of study required of prospective candidates, such as the major they prefer. In other instances, employers may substitute some or all the educational requirements with the length of work experience in a particular industry or role.
Licences and certifications
Some roles require candidates to be licensed before qualifying for paid positions. Employers hiring for such positions typically state that candidates need licensing to operate in a specific jurisdiction. For instance, to work as a counselling psychologist, you require licensing by the respective provincial licensing body.
Some positions also require candidates to undergo certification. Certification shows that a candidate has the requisite work experience and skills to perform in a role. Maintaining certifications shows a candidate's commitment to the profession, an aspect that's likely to further impress the employer.
A candidate's personality is a key job requirement for some positions. Having the desired personality traits can make a candidate more suitable for a position and complements their skills, education, and work experience. Employers may consider personality traits as critical in enabling a candidate to fit into the company's culture, values, and ability to work harmoniously with others. Some desirable personality traits employers look for include teamwork, attention to detail, reliability, and a desire to learn.
Specific knowledge areas
Some roles require a candidate to possess more knowledge of specific areas relevant to the open position. Employers may specify these knowledge areas to attract candidates with a certain knowledge base and skill set. For instance, employers looking to hire a phlebotomist may require candidates to have knowledge of venipuncture.
Employers looking to hire for a role that involves working with a diverse population may require job candidates to be proficient in certain languages. Employers may also specify the level of language proficiency, such as the ability to write and speak fluently. In some cases, basic knowledge of the language may be sufficient to perform the role, while other roles may have no language requirement at all.
Some positions may involve a high physical demand. These include positions in the army, machine operator, or nursing assistant as they typically involve spending long periods of time standing, moving, or lifting heavy objects. Employers hiring for such positions usually specify that candidates be physically fit so they can effectively complete their tasks.
Some positions require a lot of travelling. This requirement is typical for organizations with field operations, companies with offices in multiple locations, or those undertaking geographically dispersed projects. Employers hiring for such positions can state these requirements in the job posting to help attract candidates willing to travel outside their usual location.
Employers hiring for open positions typically intend for the successful candidate to work in a specific location such as the head office, regional offices, or international subsidiaries. Job location is an important job requirement, as stating it can help find candidates able to work in certain places. For instance, candidates with young families may reconsider applying for international positions because of the potential disruption to their lives.
Tips to understanding job requirements
Here's a list of tips to help you understand job requirements:
Read the job posting
You can read the job posting and highlight key job requirements the employer desires in prospective candidates. Reviewing the posting can help you determine the duties and responsibilities of the role and whether you have the qualifications to perform the tasks. This is also important, as companies have varied job titles for similar positions. When creating your resume, list the desired skills, minimum education requirement, work experience, and keywords used by the employer to help you tailor your application to the role.
Distinguish the requirements
Some employers state the requirements candidates need for the role and others that are preferred but not required. When reviewing the job posting, you can list and distinguish between these two types of requirements. Assess your skills and qualifications to determine whether you have all the required traits and be sure to mention them on your resume and cover letter. You can also identify which preferred attributes you possess and include those in your application to help you impress the employer.
Tailor your application
After identifying the job requirements you possess, prepare your application documents, such as a cover letter and resume. Some employers may also require you to complete a job application form. Regardless of the application mode, ensure you include all the keywords and required and preferred traits. If you lack some requirements, you can include equivalent qualifications to gain the attention of the hiring manager.
Examples of job requirements
Here are some examples of job requirements for a variety of roles:
Example job requirements for a nurse position
Here's an example of job requirements for a nurse position:
minimum of a bachelor's degree in nursing
skills in patient critical care and home health care
minimum three years' experience in a busy health facility
licensed to work in Ontario and Toronto
certified by a reputable nursing certifying body
proficient in computer applications and hospital systems
ability to communicate in verbal and written forms
master's degree in nursing
basic knowledge of French language
Example job requirements for an architect position
Here's an example of a job requirements list for an architect position:
degree in architecture
previous work experience in architecture, design, or a related field
outstanding technical drawing skills
knowledge of computer drawing skills
proficiency in using architectural software programs
ability to conduct feasibility studies and environmental impact
excellent presentation skills
knowledge of construction and building regulatory standards
creativity and ability to provide innovative solutions to problems
certification in architecture
previous involvement in building projects
Example job requirements for a probation officer position
Here are example job requirements for a probation officer position:
master's degree in sociology, criminology, criminal justice, or a related field
one year of experience in law enforcement, criminal justice cycle, case management, or offender rehabilitation
excellent interpersonal and critical thinking skills
ability to relate well with other criminal justice agencies
ability to execute court orders
excellent report writing and presentation skills
no previous criminal record
basic knowledge of French
valid driving licence
Now that we've defined what job requirements are, shared common components of job requirements, and provided tips to help you understand job requirements, you'll be better prepared to review job requirements on your career search.
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