If you've seen a great job that you really want to apply for, you just need to understand what the employer is looking for.
It may not be immediately obvious where you need to put your focus so here are some tips to get you started decoding job ads.
What is in a job ad?
Well-written job ads are concise, clear and to the point and will have two main sections: a job description section and a person specification section. The job description will outline information about the company, salary, working hours, the role, job title, responsibilities, and tasks. The Person Specification will outline the skills, qualifications, qualities, and level of experience of the person the employer is looking for. Let's call it person spec for short. Before applying, always research the company to ensure they're one you'd like to work for!
Tailor with keywords
Not all job ads are well written which means extra work for you as you'll need to work your out which bits are the job description and which bits are the person spec so you can evidence them on your application. Look beyond the job title, start by analysing the job advert making notes as you go along of keywords for responsibilities you would have in this role (job description). Next go through it all again and highlight the keyword skills and attributes they are looking for (person spec.) You will need to reference as many of these keywords as you can in your application.
What is the subtext telling you?
Notice any clues and red flags an employer may give you. Here are a few examples: self-starter means they'll expect you to get on with things quickly will very little supervision which is great if you don't like being micromanaged but not so great if you like to be given clear instructions. Multitasker means they'll expect you to juggle lots of different priorities, great if you get a kick out of variety but not so good if you like working very methodically. If you see ability to work well under pressure, it means you will need to be able to manage a certain level of stress and work to tight deadlines.
Practice makes perfect
Practice reading job ads to identify keywords and phrases and you'll soon become an expert in decoding any job you'll target increasing your chances of a successful application!
For more information and support on this topic from the University of Salford - please click here