Do you really know what a job advert is? Many job seekers don’t know the intricate meaning of a job advert and what it’s trying to convey. A job advert is there to describe the type of person with the skills needed to fulfil a job opening at a company. A job advert serves as a checklist to see if you have the required combination of work experience/skills needed.
Let’s help you decode a job advertisement
When looking for a job, one of the factors that affect our choice of applying is the description of the job. Some job adverts can be long and detailed. Others can be quite brief. Regardless of their length, it is of utmost importance that you go through the job advert carefully before submitting your application.
Before looking at job adverts, it is important that you’re fully aware of your levels of experience and skills to best match yourself with the position being advertised.
If you think you are a 80% (and above) match then the position is worth applying. Be cautious though and read in-between the lines as some job adverts can appear to be broad or not specific enough.
A lot of job seekers apply for jobs that they’re not qualified for. If you’re desperate, using a spray-and-pray approach might seem to be the best course of action, but there are smarter ways to increase your chances of getting a job. Sending one job application after the other, even if you’re not really qualified, is a waste of your precious time and that of the recruiter that will be reviewing your CV. Rather adapt you’re strategy to a smarter method. Here are some tips to help you decode a job advertisement.
How to Read a Job Description
Print Out a Copy of the Job Description
Make sure to print a hard copy of the job description you saw online or received via email. With a physical hard copy in front of you, you can really study it and highlight keywords and phrases in pen. At this point, ensure these words and phrases appear on your cover letter and CV wherever applicable.
Evaluate the Job Title
The job title is most likely what attracted you to the advert in the first place. For instance, if you’re looking for the position in relation to customer service, you will look out for titles such as call center representative, customer care agent etc.
In addition, some job titles will highlight the different levels of a job for example, chief, executive, manager, supervisor, assistant and so on. Note that these terms may differ from industry to industry; for example, an executive officer in one organisation may be referred to as a senior manager in another. Remember this searching for jobs using a job board or search engine.
Study the Qualifications and Responsibilities
This segment of the job description depicts the sort of professional requirements an applicant ought to have. These may include one’s educational background, soft and hard skills and previous experience.
Now and again you’ll see requirements jotted under other sub-headings like: ‘essential skills’, which are must-have abilities. Subheadings like ‘employability skills’ are additional skills which (if you have them) is an added advantage.
If you fit most of the requirements, great! But if you fall a bit short (remember the 80%-match we referred to earlier), we encourage you to still apply but be aware that there will most probably be another applicant that fits their requirements with more accuracy – which might diminish your chances of getting to the interview stage.
You should list the qualifications that you have at the beginning of the cover letter so that the hiring manager can see right away that you have what it takes to fill the role. Include other relevant qualifications and experiences in your cover letter as this will boost your chances of getting a call to come in for a meeting.
Likewise, go through your tasks and responsibilities for the role. Can you perform all of them well? Would you perform these roles on an everyday basis? If you don’t have the passion or ability to deliver on most of the roles they require, we suggest you move on to the next job ad.
Most people make the mistake of applying for many jobs rather than the ones that truly fit their competencies and experience. Look at it this way – just because you’re a naturally talkative person doesn’t mean you should apply for a communications director position.
Do You Have Enough Experience?
Some job adverts will incorporate details about the level of experience required. Decoding this part of the job advertisement will help you understand what level of experience is needed for the vacancy in detail. This is an essential area to focus on. For example, if you’re just out of college or high school, why would you want to apply for a senior position which requires at least 5 years’ experience? Again, only apply for jobs that you matches your experience and skills level.
Look Out for Red Flags
Paying attention when reading a job advert can help you spot job scams and tricks that people use to advertise fraudulent or non-existent positions. When the job advert seems to be too good to be true or seems “off”, rather don’t apply.
Job adverts that guarantee really high salaries for marketing products door-to-door, and no experience required, be wary – these are commonly commission-based, low-end jobs not worth your time. The same job ads that run frequently are indications of low-end and/or high-turnover positions that require a steady stream of new hires – which means it’s better to stay clear if you are looking for a more stable, long-term career opportunity.
Avoid job ads that require you to pay a fee or invest in a company before being hired. They are scams. It’s illegal in South Africa to charge a job seeker any fees by guaranteeing them a job.
Complete the Process Just as You Started
Read the job advert one last time before submitting your application. Check that you have answered all the required questions the job advert is asking for. Keep an eye out for sneaky details. Employers will sometimes request a response to an unconventional question as a way to see which applicants took the time to read and follow instructions.
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