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  • Writer's picturePenny Langstaff

Analysing Job Ads to Pick the Right Ones

Updated: Nov 17, 2021

Find out why it's important to read job adverts carefully so that you apply for the right ones

You've completed a job search on Seek or Trade Me and have a list of options in front of you. Now you have to narrow down that list to those that are "yes, I'll apply" or "maybe/maybe not". So what do you need to look for in an ad to make the process easier? Here are a few job advert tips that might help.

  1. Is the job ad listed by a Recruitment Agency or by a Company direct The direct ads are easy, as you can research the company and make a decision based on what you've read or seen. Agency ads are more tricky. They mention "our client" but don't usually provide their name. As a candidate, that's frustrating, because how do you know whether the company's of interest? Although you don't have their details, some of the wording may give you some insights - for example, do they describe their client as a "global brand" or a "boutique" company; is their culture "vibrant and youthful" or "professional/corporate"; do they mention "in growth mode" or "market leader"? If you take time to look closely at the information that you do have, hopefully you'll have enough to decide whether the job and "client" is of interest.

  2. Read the job ad short sentence teaser and bullet points This is where a company/agency should put their strongest selling points as they want you to click through and read the whole ad. If that information doesn't "rock your boat", then it's unlikely the rest of the ad will entice you to apply. If a recruiter or company has struggled to give you three great "selling points", it doesn't say much for the company or role! Having said that, some people are just bad ad-writers, so this rule doesn't always apply!

  3. Click through to read the whole job ad. Key points to check, include: Company (or client) information - is there enough detail there for you to think it's somewhere you'd want to work or at least find out more? Do the responsibilities sound like you? If the information is vague, it may mean that the role's not well defined or doesn't have much to it. For example, if you're looking for your next job to have specific responsibilities and to be more challenging but the role responsibilities sound vague, you may want to call and get more information before applying. The "About You" or "Who we're looking for" section. Some people look at the requirements and will only apply if they can tick them all. However, don't be put off if you're missing one or two. Many employers are happy to make allowances for the right person and you may have some skills that would add value but aren't mentioned. The company (or client) culture - so important, but frequently not included in job adverts. If this information is available, it can provide clues as to whether the environment might suit, depending on what you're looking for. For example, words likes "dynamic and social" or "creative and exciting " may indicate a younger and/or fast-paced environment. Similarly, if an ad mentions "casual, relaxed culture", then it probably isn't going to be corporate or professional.

Finally, always keep in mind that even if you think you have the skills and experience required, there's always that unknown factor called "fit" - and that's almost impossible to define in an advert. All you can do is make sure you send through a relevant CV or Resume and cover letter based on what you do see in the advert and go from there.

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