Job ads are important for both, the applicants and the company. The more you know about the employer, the better you can address your interests in your cover letter or on the interview. Understanding the job postings increases your chances of securing a job faster and more successful.

The job advertisement provides a good first impression of the company. It is important to read the job advertisements very carefully, especially between the lines. Also job and profile requirements say a lot about the job. You will also want to research the job title and supplementary information to create a solid basis for your application. The supplementary information is usually available on the company webpage, press releases and the company’s social media profile.

Do not be put off by job advertisements

When reading the job advertisements, most applicants are under pressure. It may appear that the companies are looking for unicorns, who are absolute masters at everything. But, do not despair when you read the job posting. While words, such as prerequisites, we expect the candidate to or required are necessary skills without which you can not perform the job, formulations such as desirable, adequate, additional or ideally are not have absolute must haves for the applicant. If you meet about 70% of the requirements, you can rest assured that your chances for an interview are pretty good.

In general, companies give a fair overview of a perfect candidate in job advertisements. If you deviate from these requirements, that does not mean that you are unsuitable. It is important, however, that you make a conscious effort to study the requirements and evaluate your fit: what qualifications do you bring to the table? Are you so flexible & willing to learn new topics? Do your soft skills convince the interviewer?

Read between the lines

Take heed of supporting information in job ads, such as telephone numbers or references:

For further questions please contact Mrs. XYZ

This information is a guide post – a call is welcome before you submit your application. Often a phone call would quickly help evaluate whether you have the right skills & attitude for the job. So, you save yourself and the company valuable time. Please think about the questions you would like answered before making the call. Well though through questions also signal your interest and your competence in the advertised position. Teamwork, flexibility, communication and resilience are clichéd keywords. Nevertheless, you should not just read these phrases as-is because the actual requirements are latent. In this case, you should document these skills in your CV:

  • Traveling as a pleasant one means you will be traveling a lot
  • We are developing and marketing world-wide (…) With 6.7 billion euros in sales, we are already the number one in Europe in this sector.” “Worldwide” and “Europe” point to a possible deployment abroad. These are also international opportunities for you.

If the job is not clear from the text, then ask the contact person to clarify these items when you call.

How quickly should you respond to job ad?

Not too fast. After a job posting, serious candidates need time to familiarise themselves with the job requirements, the company, etc. Sending your applications as soon as the job is posted often indicates negligent research by applicants who are in a hurry to find a new job or are playing the numbers game – quantity vs. quality. In many job portals, you can create a profile and set up notifications as soon as a job advertisement that matches your profile is posted. Take time to maintain a complete and precise profile on those portals. Headhunters are also increasingly involved in professional networks such as Xing or LinkedIn to find suitable people to staff. So, regularly update and maintain a strong professional profile on social networks.