How to Read Between the Lines of a Job Ad

By Jim Raychrudhury

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At first glance, most job adverts seem pretty straightforward with the job description, a list of necessary educational qualifications and required skills, don't they? Well maybe, maybe not.

Most times, between those blurred lines are clues that determine whether the opportunity is right for you, or if it's a mismatch waiting to happen. With that in mind, how does one start using the job description x-ray vision to understand what the job posting is really saying? 


The Experience Factor


You see your dream job posted in the newspaper, but they require three to five years experience. Can you still apply? Most definitely! Keep in mind that most employers don't want to train someone from scratch, but if you have two years of experience under your belt, there is no reason why you need to let your dream job pass you by. With a solid understanding of the position and just the right amount of confidence, a junior candidate could easily win their potential new boss over.

On the other hand, if you have much more experience than the job requires, it's probably best to move on. Most employers will assume that a senior candidate would grow bored quickly with the position or their salary requirements are more than they want to pay.

It's also a good idea to take note if the "years of experience" correlate with specific roles. Some positions require a specific number of years of experience in a specific job function, while others require a set number of years of industry experience. By identifying which type of experience is required, you will be better equipped at determining whether it is the right role for you.


How Important are Job Titles


Most experts would agree that it's not a good idea to infer anything good or bad from a job's official title. Small startup companies often appoint their employees with "grander" titles as opposed to employees at well-established companies. For this reason, is usually more effective to look for keywords in the job description rather than the actual job title.

Job prospects definitely need to take job titles with a grain of salt. The title of director at one company may translate to the title of vice president at another. Pay close attention to the responsibilities and requirements to accurately measure a job's seniority.


Check out the Keywords 


Employers use choice keywords in their job postings to describe the job requirements and the qualities they are looking for in future employees. The only criteria you need to find these common keywords is to be genuinely interested in the job. Grab a pen and start making a list of words you see repeatedly the job postings. Afterwards, when you begin to prepare your interview script, you will find these keywords to be invaluable. Of course, you never want to come off as trying to impress the interviewer, but tossing in a word here and there shows that you actually read the job description. In addition, knowing the true definition behind those keywords is what convinces the interviewer that you really know what you are talking about.

The words you use to express yourself say more than you can imagine. It's your choice of verbiage that can make or break a job interview. Since you are being judged by the words you use, you need to make sure you're conveying the right message. It's essential to use the right words and language to impress your potential employer.

Using the right words can make a huge difference in a single statement. It gives you a competitive edge. Incorporating the "key" words into your conversation will help make your statements more powerful and impressive. Finally, speaking your chosen industry lingo will help you be taken more seriously as a worthy candidate.


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