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Last updated on 12/12/19

Identify the key information of a job advert

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You’ve found job adverts that interest you?

Let’s look at how to understand them. Knowing how to read an advert effectively (and sometimes even reading between the lines) will allow you to prepare the best possible application.

You can find a great deal of information about a company and a job on the web – and by using your LinkedIn profile, you may be able to find people you already know working in the field or even in the company. 😎

A 3-step method

The task of understanding a job opening involves much more than casually browsing job adverts:

  1. Read each job advert carefully and identify the keywords.

  2. Identify information about the company and the profile desired.

  3. Deepen your knowledge of the company.

Identify keywords

When preparing your application, it's important to have a solid understanding of a job offer if you want a chance of success.

Start by reading the whole job offer, several times over. Then highlight all keywords that describe the company, job, missions, and the desired profile. 

Job adverts are full of information to help you understand what the recruiter is looking for! You can choose the skills that best match the required profile, highlight these in your CV, and incorporate them into your cover letter.

Analyse the presentation of the company

The more you want to join a company, the easier it is to write your cover letter and make your interview a success!

Several types of information about a company may be found in a job offer:

  • their business sector: this information will let you know whether you’ll like the company or not

  • where it’s based, its address

  • its name (usually shown with the company’s website)

  • how many people the company employs 

  • annual turnover

  • progress/growth over the last few years 

  • market position

  • development projects and the risks at stake

  • information about its social commitments 

Sometimes, the company name is hidden. In this case, concentrate on the information given in the job offer and look for information about the business sector as well as the various companies represented. Immerse yourself in their culture and their problems.

It’s likely that the company is one that you already know a little about without realizing it! Don’t be afraid to “benchmark” the main companies within the sector.

Another trick is to cut and paste part of the job offer into Google. As Google knows everything about everybody, it’s likely you’ll come across the job offer on the company’s site. 😉

Analyse the job description

Imagine you are a future staff member, and you have to start work tomorrow.

This section of the job offer is very important. You must identify the responsibilities and understand what the company would expect from you.

  • What exactly is the post they’re looking to fill? 

  • What will you specifically have to do, on a day-to-day basis?

  • Which team would you be working in?

  • What tools are being used?

  • Who are the clients or people you will come into contact with on a day-to-day basis?

Job title

The job title could be general, such as “junior web developer”, or more specific, such as “front-end JavaScript integrator and developer”. This identifies a specific need (in the latter case) or shows that they are flexible in terms who they are looking for (in the former case).

What are the missions for this post?

Job offers include the main missions of the job position:

  • Do what? When? How? And for whom?

Which team would you be working in?

It’s always worth understanding which team you’re going to work in.

  • What do they do? Is it a sales or a technical team?

  • Is it specialized in that sector, or is it multi-functional? Is it a team that is put together to carry out a project? Several business sectors such as technical, marketing and sales may operate side-by-side.

Who are the people you will come into contact with on a day-to-day basis?

By reading through the job offer, you’ll discover who the partners are or the people you will come in contact with on a day-to-day basis.

These may be direct clients, outside service providers working on the project, directors – or, they want you to be aware that the job is done in-house with your colleagues.

Depending on the size of the company and according to its core business, a lot of different scenarios are possible.

Begin to identify the desired profile

The job offer will specify the profile of the ideal candidate! This description will be more or less detailed and personalized.

You’ll often find indicators about the qualifications and experience required and the desired qualities to succeed in the job!

Qualifications and/or experience

These two details often compensate for each other; either you have the qualification, or you compensate for the lack of it by offering more relevant work experience.

Qualification required

Depending on the job offer, a required qualification may be verified. Foreign language levels will also be checked.

This information is something you must pay attention to in a job offer, especially if it’s marked as “required”.

Level of experience

The details will often qualify the level of experience required. Let’s look at how much experience these usually refer to:

  • beginner: less than 2 years’ experience 

  • junior: 2–5 years’ experience 

  • experienced: over 5 years’ experience 

  • senior or expert: more than 10 years’ experience, usually with several companies 

Pay attention to this indicator! Don't apply for a job marked “experienced” if you’re just starting out. It's a waste of your time - and the recruiter's.

Sometimes, you’ll be asked to include your achievements or a link to your ePortfolio. Be meticulous in respecting these instructions and the quality of your work!

Qualities required

Very often, the same qualities are often required: organized, team player, self-starter, thorough, dynamic...

But don’t let yourself be intimidated!

You’ve made your skills list, identified your qualities and are happy with your choices, and you’ve got enough proof (if needed) to show the recruiter what you can do.

Let's recap!

Highlight all useful keywords found in the job offer when completing your application. Devote time and attention to reading the job offer. Behind every word, the recruiter is conveying a message to the candidates. Their objective is to specify what they are looking for and their expectations; this also avoids time wasting with applicants who don’t have the relevant profile. But it’s also about encouraging the right candidates who want to apply!

Let's have a closer look at pinpointing the profile the recruiter is looking for!

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