How to Decode Any Job Posting

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Job hunting is no easy process.

It takes a lot of effort to make subtle changes to your resume and tailor it to each job posting. You don’t want to spend hours making an application only to realize that it’s not right for you.

That’s why it’s so important to determine, first of all, whether the job is a good fit. By taking a closer look at the job description and decoding what it means, you’ll be able to decide if you can truly get behind the company and see yourself working there.

Here are our guidelines on how to analyze every job posting to determine if it’s right for you.

The Company

Many job postings will have an ‘About Us’ or ‘Company Description’. You may have the tendency to skip right over that part and move straight into the requirements section, but don’t do it!

‘About Us’ is actually filled with key information on who the company is, what their values are and what they can offer you as an employer. It’s also crucial to check out their website. As you’re clicking through it, do you find yourself growing more interested in the company? Can you actually picture yourself working there? If so, use that information to your advantage by playing it up in your cover letter.

For example, if the company has a core value about being environmentally friendly, discuss your excitement on the possibility of joining a forward-thinking eco-conscious organization. Or, mention a committee you belonged to in school that made an effort to protect the environment.

Job Title

When you’re scrolling through postings, it’s crucial that you take the time to actually read the job title. This may seem painfully obvious, but bear with us. Even something as small as the job title can provide you with hints about the required experience for the position, the level of responsibility involved, type of work and salary.

Take these two job titles—Editorial Assistant and Assistant Editor. They both sound quite similar, but in reality they tend to be two different positions. The Editorial Assistant title suggests a more junior position in the journalism industry that deals with administrative tasks. The Assistant Editor title points to a senior position that focuses on editorial direction and managing contributors.

As a student or recent grad, it’s important to look for positions that are in line with your experience level. Avoid applying for very senior roles for now and instead apply to those with “junior”, “entry-level” and “assistant” in the title. These positions are likely to suit you much better!

Responsibilities

This section of a job posting outlines what would be expected of you in the role. It’s often a list of bullet points that include specific duties. Examples include ‘Creating marketing reports’, ‘Developing content for social media’ or ‘Managing multiple projects in a fast paced environment’.

While you’re reading through them, look for similarities between the tasks listed and your previous job experiences.

Then reflect on them.

Did you enjoy the work? Were you confident in the role? Is it something you want to do again? If the answer is yes but you’re finding some of the required tasks unfamiliar, don’t stress. As long as you match most of the criteria, there is no harm in sending in your resume. Besides, the most important responsibilities are usually the first three in the list. If you’re familiar with those three, you’re in a good position to apply!

Qualifications

The final part of a job posting is usually the qualifications section. Here, companies outline the accomplishments and skills they believe a candidate should have to be successful in the role.

They can be anything from ‘University/College degree’ to ‘excellent leadership skills’ or ‘prior experience in x, y and z’. Again, the most important qualifications are usually found at the top. As you’re reading over it ask yourself, ‘do I have all of these qualifications?’.

If not, but you’re really interested in the position, don’t worry. Look for phrases or words such as ‘must have’ or ‘preferred’ or ‘asset’ to see where the flexibility lies. Some qualifications may be non-negotiable, like specific educational certifications. But oftentimes, companies can hire candidates who are missing a qualification or two. All you have to do is make a case for being able to work around it and be willing to complete additional training. Plus, you might have other transferable skills that would add to the role.

It takes time and effort to create the perfect job application. That’s why it’s so important for you to first decide if the job would be the right fit by analyzing the job posting. Everything you need to know is in there, so take the time to actually read it through and ask yourself questions along the way. That way you’ll be able to decide if you should apply to the job or move on to the next one—bringing you one step closer to finding your ideal position!

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