How to Read a Job Advertisement

How To Read A Job Advertisement




While hunting your dream job, you probably go through tens of job ads which allow you to get a first glimpse of the employing companies and understand what the advertised jobs are all about. You may have noticed that a typical job ad contains these basic sections:

  1. About the company.
  2. Role description.
  3. Role requirements (essential and nice-to-have).
  4. What the company has to offer.

All these details should help you decide if you are the right candidate for the job and if the job is the right one for you.

Hence, it’s important to read the job advertisements very carefully and be able to extract the information that might not be obvious at first sight. Here are a few tips on how to do this!

Do I get the basic information about the job?

There are a few aspects that any job ad should include.

Ask yourself: by reading this ad, do I:

  • Find out basic information about the company such as its mission, vision and values?
  • Is there enough information given about the responsibilities of the role?
  • Am I able to confidently assess if I am the right fit for this role?
  • Do the salary and benefits meet my expectations?

If your answer to all of these questions is yes, go ahead and continue with more detailed research of the company and the role.

If your answer is no, you may want to run additional research regarding the company and the role or reconsider your application. You might end up applying for a role or a company that is not the right fit for you.

How to read a job ad: look for extra details

How to read a job ad

Check if the ad contains additional details that can help you better understand the role.

This could include:

  • A brief description of why this position is open and how it will impact the future state of the team.
  • Testimonials from the leaders and team members.
  • An explanation of what skills are needed within the team.
  • What are the success factors.

The more information is given in the ad, the more chances you have to find out if you’re the right fit for the role and make the right decision.

Moreover, conduct research to make sure the company is the right one for you. We explain how to do that in the ‘Company evaluation’ fact-sheet.

Job responsibilities vs Job requirements vs Job offerings

A job ad should be balanced when it comes to information on the role responsibilities, requirements, salary, and benefits. As a candidate, you deserve to receive an accurate description of your potential future tasks, together with a reasonable set of skills and capabilities needed to perform the role successfully.

For example, job advertisements containing only a few brief bullet points on the scope. Combined with an extensive list of requirements, it might indicate that the company doesn’t have realistic expectations from their candidates, and, conclusively, the employees as well.

Hidden-meaning aspects in job ads

Hidden-meaning aspects in job ads

Most companies won’t admit that you have long working hours ahead of you or a cranky manager. That’s why it’s vital to conduct research regarding the potential future employer described in our other fact-sheet. 😊

It is also important to learn how to read a job description between the lines. This will help you find useful hints about whether the role and the company are right for you.

Some examples of such hidden-meaning aspects could be:

  • Focus on the regional/global presence of the company. This could indicate exposure to foreign stakeholders and potential international opportunities.
  • A clear description of the responsibilities and needed skills. This could indicate that the organisation has a well-defined vision and strategy with a clear understanding of where the role sits and what are the key success factors.

On the other hand…

  • An extensive and repetitive list of requirements could indicate that the company has unrealistic expectations towards the candidates and/or is unable to set and split the critical skill set among the team members.
  • Strong focus on the candidate’s flexibility, adaptability, and execution could indicate a chaotic and time-demanding working culture.

Stay curious and attentive and you’ll certainly succeed in applying for the right roles in the right companies at the right time to step up your career game!


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