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Understanding job adverts

Before you look at job adverts, it’s important to know your skills, knowledge and experience, so that you can match yourself to roles that suit you.

As a general rule, if you can tick 80 per cent of the boxes in terms of what the employer is asking for then it’s worth applying.

Sometimes you need to read between the lines, as some of the adverts can seem very vague at first. A good idea is to print out the job advert and go through with a highlighter picking out the key words and phrases. Make sure those keywords appear in your CV and cover letter.

The way the job is described will tell you a lot about the job. If it says it’s fast-paced, then they are telling you exactly what kind of person you need to be: high-energy and good at working under pressure.

If it asks for a particular skill you have to be able to prove you’ve got it. You must be able to prove how you meet everything they are asking for if you want to get shortlisted.

If you can’t demonstrate all of the skills required in the advert because you haven’t had the work experience to do so, take the opportunity to say why you have the potential. Mention anything which demonstrates this, even if it’s something outside of work.

Don’t just apply to everything because that’s a waste of time. If you are clear about what sort of job you want, it will be easy to decide which vacancies to apply for.

Things to consider when applying for vacancies:

  • What you’re good at?
  • How you interact with others, do you enjoy this and does it come easily to you?
  • Which sectors or industries interest you?
  • Have you researched various companies or job vacancies in your area?
  • Do you need to consider your personal circumstances ie. childcare or transport?

To increase your chances of success, apply for jobs where you can see that you have exactly what they’re looking for. Planning your job searching will help you be focused on what it is you want.

For more tips plus information about our employment programmes, visit our Recruitment Hub.