If you’re applying for work right now, you’ll be looking at a lot of job ads. And you may have noticed that a lot of these adverts follow the same templates, using the same terms, being laid out in the same way and giving similar details – even across industries and levels.
With so many job profiles being similar, you can read more into a job ad by learning the phrases that come up again and again. By doing this, you make yourself a stronger candidate, able to submit a more relevant application, as well as being able to decide which jobs are really worth your while applying for.
Job postings basically have their own language. There are some terms that turn up again and again, across ads for all industries and levels, that you’ll need to know if you want a clear idea of what the position offers:
- DOE – dependant on experience, meaning the salary is flexible
- pro rata – indicating the rate of pay across the course of a year. For example, a position that lasts for three months listed as ‘£24,000 pro rata’ will actually pay £6,000, because £24,000 is the equivalent yearly rate.
- circa or ca. – approximately
- p.a. – per annum, every year
- FT/PT – full time or part time
- OTE – on-target earnings, meaning what you will make if you meet your targets
Meeting the requirements
Most jobs will require some kind of prior experience, but how can you know what they’re really asking for? For many jobs, there’s no exact profile, and someone may get the job with less experience than stated while conversely, someone with a stronger background may miss out.
The number of years and the type of experience are just part of many possible factors in deciding who will win the job. Look for phrases like ‘preferred’ or ‘essential’ to help you decide whether it’s worth applying for the role despite lacking the requisite experience. If your background is a close fit, it may be worth putting yourself forward anyway, so long as you have some other qualification that you believe makes you a good fit.
Defining the duties
The day to day duties and responsibilities in a job are crucial; if you’re not up to them, there’s little point applying, and yet it can sometimes be unclear from an ad exactly what is expected of you.
How many ads have you read stuffed with vague duties like ‘ensuring excellence’, ‘thrive in a fast-paced environment’, ‘passionate team player’…it’s enough to make you start wondering just what the job involves.
If you can’t make head or tail of it, don’t be shy about asking the employer for a more detailed job description when or even before you submit your application.
Having said that, if it’s a brand new position being advertised, it’s possible that the exact duties aren’t yet fully known. And the scope of the job may vary depending on your experience and skills. Check out other job ads for similar positions to help fill in the gaps.
Job ads can still be a bit of a minefield for candidates who aren’t being given enough information about the role in question. With the benefit of experience however you can draw out a surprising amount on what you need to know.
Have you encountered any jargon while job seeking? Why not test us and ask the professionals, if you’re unsure on anything.