How to Decipher Job Postings and Win at Interviews
Deciphering job postings can often be a challenge especially when they’re littered with industry specific lingo and complex business terminology. After writing, creating and personally applying to many different types of postings, here are some tips that can get you on track for knowing whether that job is for you.
Often times in job postings, companies will have a section within, in which they will tell you exactly what they are looking for and what you must have in order to be hired. These specific items are called your qualifications and are often the easiest to decipher. You either have it, don’t have it or are obtaining it. Your qualifications are often accredited by a known third party provider such as a university/college or an association such as the Red Cross (for first aid certification). These items enables employers to quickly comb through and make their first round of application eliminations.
The other type of qualifications are your years of experience within a certain industry which typically, lends credibility to your capabilities in a specific area. Simply put, make sure you look for these pieces of information first before going through the rest of the posting.
If the qualifications section was the bone, then the description section is the meat where you will get all the necessary details. This section of a job posting will give you all the information you need to know as a potential candidate applying for the job. Sometimes a description is very simplified, and other times it will provide great detail. Let’s look at how to analyze both:
Simplified Job Descriptions: When reading a simplified version, you will be able to pull out the company’s ultimate reason for why they are looking to hire, usually in a sentence or two.
Ex: “ABC Company is searching for a Customer Service Representative to work closely with our Department Supervisor.”
These job descriptions require a bit of educated guessing to really figure out what they are asking for and it’s highly recommended that you google search other similar postings.
Detailed Job Descriptions: These job descriptions can both be helpful and hindering. When the posting is well worded and gives many details this can help with determining what is required on the job. Sometimes it can also give you an idea of what employers will ask you during the interview!
If the posting is littered with details of the company and run on sentences of what the corporation may hold, this might not be as helpful; you may have to guess at what you will be doing from the position title! If you are running into the second scenario, it might be worthwhile to network on LinkedIn with other employees that are currently working for the company, or call the hiring person directly and ask some questions (be forthcoming and friendly, this will also help with making a lasting impression).
As always, we hope that these tips help you while you are applying for jobs and deciphering the many different types of job opportunities. Leave a comment if you know a few tips and tricks that can help someone read through a “messy” job posting.