“We’re hiring a self-motivated, detail-oriented rockstar who is a master wordsmith, stellar designer, and knowledgeable in HTML/JavaScript. This is an entry-level position. 3+ years experience and a degree in a related field required.”

These job requirements may be made up, but they’re not too far off from the unrealistic requests companies make in their job descriptions. All too often, especially for entry-level positions, job descriptions are filled with ambitious requests that are difficult to live up to.

You may find a job that you’re excited about, then open up the job description and be dissuaded from applying. Similarly, you may see a job opening that looks great on the surface, then look more closely at the description and see immediate red flags.

To highlight some of these red flags and ridiculous asks, we compared what job descriptions say with what they actually mean.


Can you relate? How often have you been discouraged by a job description that makes you feel unqualified or turned off by a company that is asking for more than it is willing to pay for?

If you’re feeling this way, you’re not alone. A survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that 46% of men and 41% of women have avoided applying for jobs because they felt like they didn’t meet the qualifications and that applying would have been a waste of time and energy. Other reasons for not applying included respecting the employer’s time, fear of failure, inability to do the job, and following the guidelines about who should apply.

However, just because you don’t meet all the requirements doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply. In job descriptions, employers are often more aspirational than practical. What’s more, someone who doesn’t understand the job may have written the job description. Unless you feel overqualified for a position or don’t think a company is the right fit for you, apply anyway!