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What to Look For in a Job Posting

© olly -
© olly –

Long before you ever see a job posting, it has been carefully crafted with much thought placed in the text. There is usually input from not only the human resources function, but invariably from the head of that particular department.

With so much care put into writing job postings, you should put in just as much care when reading them. Don’t just skim over the words or jump to conclusions. After all, the employers know what they want, not you.

A job posting should be read several times, from top to bottom, inside out and back to front. Its authors have worked to place a lot of information in a short space.

As you read, look for hints about:

  • Company culture. Sometimes you can tell the culture of the company by the way they word the posting. If you can’t, that’s where Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook come in. As you research the company, look for signs about how they speak about, treat, and value their employees. When employees post, notice how they seem to feel about working at the company.
  • Specific job requirements. The employers have clearly laid out the precise details of what they’re looking for. Yet I hear from human resource managers and executive recruiters that they’re seeing a huge uplift in people applying to jobs when they only have 10% of the skills and attributes required. What a waste of time for you, and what a waste of time for the corporate staff or recruiters.
  • Keywords and key phrases: Applicant tracking systems are the robots reading your resume. Without the right keywords, your resume is toast! Peruse the job posting as well as the company website to uncover the industry and functional-specific buzzwords the ATS system may be looking for. For help, download my FREE keyword guide.
  • Time line. Be sure to scrutinize the application deadline and never be late. I recommend sending your resume for an advertised posting no later than 10 days before the closing (usually between 21 and 28 days).

After an advert has closed there is generally a waiting period of one business week before the candidates who have been selected for the interview stage will be called. You might be lucky and get a courtesy email saying the resume has been received, but that is rare.

Scheduling can be a laborious process because both the candidates and interviewers have other commitments. Can you imagine how long a 15-interview process takes? For one of my clients, it was seven months! Luckily the number of interviews rarely goes beyond three or four.

When you’re in career transition and spending long hours reading through many job postings, it can be tempting to cut corners on your research or abandon your targeted job search plan. Stay focused and use the advert text to guide your next move.

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