Job Interview Tips – Understanding Job Advertisements

Before deciding on how to write a resume, you need to fully appreciate the details of the job being offered. Understanding the job advertisement is the key to designing an effective Curriculum Vitae or job resume. Your CV needs to be formulated with that specific job in mind and it is of fundamental importance that you are able to interpret and analyze the advertisement and make correct deductions. If you do not, then your CV will miss the point and you may not progress to the next stage.

How the job is described

All job advertisements will tell the reader the name, location and business of the company. These will be put across in a positive way. Next will come the description. Take time to think about how the job is described. This will enable you to get a real idea of what the company is after. Look to see whether you will be working alone or in a team. This is very important, particularly when emphasizing skills and experience on your CV or resume.

The company will describe what they do, what they require, then go on to outline qualifications and experience required. Obviously this is one of the most important areas of the advertisement and should be read with care and clearly understood. In some cases, qualifications and experience required will be clearly stated. However, in other cases they won’t and it will be up to you to infer these from the advert, based on your knowledge of the job.


Although the salary attached to a job can be misleading, in many cases the actual salary to be offered is not quoted. Statements such as “attractive salary package” or “salary commensurate with age and experience” are employed. The rule here is that if a salary is very attractive it will be quoted. Look at what is said about the salary. The word “circa” may mean around but quite often read by potential applicants as a minimum.

Many advertisements, particularly for posts in the public sector, give salary ranges. This shows interested applicants what their potential would be as well as the starting salary. Most organizations will negotiate the starting salary after they have made a decision to employ someone.

Company description and philosophy

Look at what the company has to say for itself. This usually tells you how it wants to perceive itself rather than how others see it. The company may state that it is expanding, or might give that impression by advertising for a number of positions. You might get an idea of the possible promotion prospects from the advertisement. Be wary if there is a lack of company description. This does not always mean that there is a problem, the company may be huge and well known, therefore an in depth description is not necessary. However, there may well be a nip side and the company may have something to hide, such as concealing recruitment information from other staff.

On company philosophy, look for equal opportunities statements etc. These vary enormously, with the public sector generally leading the way. You need to consider how important the existence of an equal opportunities statement is for you.

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