The hidden meanings behind job adverts


Job hunting can often be an onerous task; however it doesn’t have to be. Knowing what to look for and how to unravel the meanings in job adverts will certainly help you get to the next stage. Looking at what the text actually means will ensure that you don’t miss out what is being asked of you and will also help you determine whether the job is right for you.

The first step in most job searches is to respond to an advert. If you don’t know exactly what that advert is saying, then there is a good chance that you won’t make it to interview or, worse, that you are successful and end up in an environment that is not suited to your skills or personality. Many companies use certain terms and phrases to describe what they mean and most of it is jargon that can easily be translated into layman’s terms.

Common phrases that you will no doubt have come across include looking for ‘team players who are detail oriented’ or someone who enjoys working in a ‘fast-paced environment’. If the advert is full of clichés such as these, it could in fact mean that the employer isn’t altogether sure what type of person they are looking for and that there is no real strategy in place for finding someone. These are buzz words frequently used to describe all kinds of jobs to try to make the role sound exciting.

Most jobs involve working in a team and therefore, the ability to work well with other people is generally expected. If you are not a good socialiser, then the chances are you wouldn’t be interested in such a job anyway. Most companies use this term to describe the fact that the job involves working alongside others.

‘Detail-oriented’, on the other hand, could mean that everything you do will be scrutinised. Unless the role involves a great need for detail, such as an editor or accountant, there should be no need to use this term.
‘Fast-paced, dynamic environment’ can often signify that long hours are required and that the demands of the job will be high. This is often used for call centres and sales centres. You will be busy (which is no bad thing) and long hours may well be expected.

If you enjoy coming up with your own solutions, terms such as ‘creativity’ and ‘out of the box thinking’ will suit you. This can also imply that there isn’t a rigid organisational system in place and therefore the job requires someone who can find their own way. If you are going for a designer job or something equally artistic than creativity will of course be a given.

As you can see, the wording used in job adverts can give you vital clues about the nature of the job. However, if you are aware of what the advert could really be saying, you will be able to tailor your cover letter accordingly and ask the right questions at interview.

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