Reading job advertisement correctly

Know how to read job ads properly

On first glance, all job ads seem the same. But look more closely, find the nuances that make every job description unique. Read between the lines on your job search and you will find valuable hints about whether your job profile really fits the job description. If it does, then you can start writing your application accordingly.  

Whatever you do, don’t get discouraged on your job search

Wanted: a person who ticks every box. That, or something similar, is how companies imagine their ideal candidate when they go looking for applicants with job advertisements. In other words, someone who can do everything, knows everything and is also a team player with a sense of humour at the same time. “But you shouldn’t let yourself be intimidated by that,” advises Magdalena Burmeister, Finance Recruiting Manager at Robert Half. “Pay attention to what it says at the very top of the job description. Because whatever is mentioned first in a job advertisement is usually most important to the company. If you fulfil 70 percent of the requirements in the job description, you’re already doing very well.”

Recognise which job description fits you

“International company seeks responsible expert in accounting and controlling (chartered). Requirements: knowledge of SAP. Desirable: independent and target-orientated worker.” That’s what a very summarised version of a job description could sound like. The question is: what information can be interpreted from it?
Anyone who speaks English certainly has an advantage. Because the application is going to an international company. The explicit mention of “chartered” clearly means that applicants must have passed higher level professional examinations and therefore provide their certificate as a chartered accountant in accounting and controlling. Preferably with several years of work experience in these areas. Knowledge of SAP is a must. But only knowledge. Have you done an introductory course? Perfect! Even that is sufficient as a qualification. The independent and target-orientated working style is merely desirable. If you’re not sure whether you fulfil these criteria, then do not mention them in your application documents.

Specifically emphasise keywords from the job advertisement

"Keywords are to your advantage if you deliberately use them in your application letter. That’s why you should pay attention to keywords like these when you read the ad,” advises our expert. “You have chartered certification as an accountant and the ad mentions exactly these qualifications? Then make sure you emphasise this aspect in your application as clearly as possible. For example, you could put this point in bold or highlight it in colour in your CV. If you’re in any doubt, go ahead and pick up the phone: ask for the person responsible for the job advertisement or ask to speak directly to the relevant department. However, if the job advertisement explicitly states that phone calls are not desired, then you should respect this request.”

On the road to success in your job search

It’s generally sensible to make enquiries, because job advertisements are often quite standardised. You might only find out if you have additional qualifications that fit the job description after a telephone call. What could be better than the human resources manager asking you for your application portfolio? If this happens, your job search is definitely on the road to success: so what are you waiting for, write the application and send it!