The 7 Steps Needed to Understand Job Postings

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Job board postings are how many job seekers discover new job opportunities and remain informed of what companies are currently hiring. Job board postings are how many, many job seekers get hired each year and are an important component of every job search. There are positives and negatives to job hunting via job board postings. If a job has been posted publicly, it means the company was not able to fill the role privately through its talent network. In some cases, this might mean the company is desperate to hire someone. This can increase the chances of being hired or that the hiring process will happen quickly. The main drawback is that public job postings usually attract a lot of applications, making it difficult to stand out. This guide will help job seekers decipher job board postings by highlighting the important elements of them.

1. Job Posting Sources

There are two main types of online job boards. The first is major job boards. These are general job boards where a variety of jobs from every field are posted. The major job boards, such as Monster and Indeed, tend to have more positions available for entry-level applicants. The second kind are industry-specific job boards. These tend to be considerably smaller than the major job boards and only focus on posting jobs for a specific field or niche. These sites are often a better source of job listings for experienced, educated professionals. It's important for job seekers to understand the kinds of jobs posted on each of these sources so they can be searching in the most ideal places.

2. They Describe An Ideal Candidate

It is important for job seekers to remember that job listings essentially describe the ideal candidate. This means that seekers should still consider applying even if they do not have every single qualification mentioned. This is largely a judgment call, because there is no set percentage of skills and experience outlined in an ad that the candidate needs to possess. What job seekers should focus on is whether they are realistically qualified and able to do the job being advertised. If the answer is yes, it is wise to apply.

3. Hard Skills

There are two types of skills an employer might list in a job ad. The first kind is hard skills. Hard skills are very specific skills that can be defined or measured. They include the ability to use a specific software, typing skills, math skills, the ability to speak a foreign language and more. In today's job market, tech skills tend to be the most desirable. Job seekers can fortunately learn tech skills fairly easily if they are having trouble landing a job. New tech skills can be gained from free trials of industry-standard software, such as Photoshop for graphic designers, or from classes and certifications.

4. Soft Skills

The second kind of skills that are usually listed in a job ad are soft skills. Soft skills are far less definable than hard skills. They can include being a team player, creativity, initiative, communication skills, leadership skills, problem solving ability and more. These skills can also be learned and developed. For example, time management can be significantly improved by tracking the time spent on specific tasks throughout a day. Soft skills are often more difficult to demonstrate to a potential employer than hard skills are, because they are not easy to quantify. Soft skills are generally considered more valuable by employers, however, because they are more difficult to teach than hard skills are. Most job ads will ask for a mixture of both hard and soft skills and candidates should be ready to perform both.

5. Key Words and Phrases

One critically important part of deciphering job postings is the ability to determine the key words and phrases the employer might be looking for. Modern job applications, especially ones that are submitted online, go through what is called an applicant tracking system. This system scans all application materials and automatically disposes of resumes that do not contain the requested skills and experience. The problem for job seekers is that it's a guessing game to determine what those key words and phrases are. Job seekers should carefully analyze the advertisement for jobs they are interested in and make a list of key words and phrases to include in their application materials.

6. Benefits and Pay

Most job ads will have information relating to the benefits and pay offered by the job. Companies include this information in order to entice the best talent to apply. Do note that some benefits may be negotiable once in final negotiations for the job. Job seekers should review this information and determine if the job offers sufficient benefits for their needs. If the benefits are not sufficient, such as if the position does not offer needed health insurance, candidates should not apply because the position does not meet their needs.

7. About The Company

Often, a job ad will feature information about the company. This information can be very valuable to job seekers, as it can immediately let job seekers know whether or not this is a company they want to work for. Candidates should always do additional research on every job they apply for. Doing so will allow them to perform better in interviews and show attention to detail and passion to hiring managers.

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