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The Secret Language of Job Postings

In my latest job search post for Work Reimagined, I offer tips for decoding a job description:

As a former recruiter, I have a love/hate relationship with job postings. On one hand, a good one can encourage ideal candidates to apply and discourage others who are not a fit. On the other hand, many of my hiring managers didn’t want to spend the time writing the description or even give me enough information to write a good one. Oftentimes, the job description was a cut-and-paste from a previous role with minimal updating (and thus minimal accuracy).

Now as a career coach, I caution my clients not to force fit their entire application or interview preparation against the job description, because it might be misleading. Unfortunately for the job seeker, you don’t know whether the job posting is accurate. You have to prepare as if the posting correctly reflects the role, then use the interview process to confirm what you have gleaned and to dig for missing information. Here’s how to dissect a job posting:

Company and Role Overview: Most job postings open with a description of the company. The overview reflects what the company thinks is key information. The tone indicates culture – is it a very traditional opening or irreverent and funny? Of course, you want to do your own research too. But do make the case in your cover letter and interview that you fit in with the company as it is described in the posting.

Read more about decoding the Company and Role, as well as two other key sections of a job posting you need to break down in my Work Reimagined post: The Secret Language of Job Postings.