Understanding and Responding to Job Postings and Job Ads

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When you are looking for a job, your first duty is to ensure you are getting updated about every new job that comes online or appears in a newspaper ad ASAP. You can ensure this by checking the newspaper or job posting sources including online job boards on a regular basis and as early in the day or late at night as possible. However, there are certain misconceptions people have about job postings and job descriptions that often prevent them from responding to opportunities. In this article we deal with the way you should look at a job posting and deal with it.

You don’t need to have every qualification listed on the job posting

When employers list many qualifications, they are describing the qualifications of the ideal employee. But even a person who has them all may not be selected, since other interests and skills are also important. So although an ad states that ten years' experience as a machinist is required, someone with only one year's experience but with additional skills in appliance repair, small parts sales, and supervision may be preferred. Therefore, if the job seems desirable for other reasons, apply for it even though you don't fulfill all the qualifications

Learn the additional skills by on-the-job experience and by reading (if you are very interested and have had some job-related experience). You need not feel apologetic about applying when you don't entirely meet the qualifications; when employers see your other abilities and interests, they may be delighted to hire you because of your distinctive combination of other skills, your personal background, or your strong interest in learning.

As you go through the want ads, don't ask yourself, "Am I completely qualified for this job?" Instead, ask yourself, "Couldn't I handle it with a few weeks' experience?" If, after going through the want ads, you have found only a few ads you think are right for you, then you are being overly cautious.

Don't Rule Out Ads That Give Insufficient Information

Most people skip over ads that don't give enough information—for example:

“Construction Manager, send resume or call 1+8-7621.”

This ad gives no clue as to whether the job is permanent or temporary, how much it pays, whether it is a good company, what special skills are useful, or whether it involves being away from home.

Similarly, ads such as "Doctor's Assistant," "Salesman Wanted," or "Motorcycle Mechanic" may give little or no additional details.

Job seekers usually bypass such ads in favor of those that give attractive additional information. But pay attention to all ads. Assume that ads that offer little information have many unmentioned attractions, and apply for them rather than skipping them. These jobs may offer a high starting salary, certainty of promotions, many fringe benefits, a very pleasant group of co-workers, proximity to home, and so on. If the ad gives a phone number or address, it will cost you only a few minutes to find out about these possibilities. Often, employers deliberately omit detailed information about salary, hours, and duties on the premise that they are flexible and will be arranged to suit the right person.

Why look into all possible job ads?

There are several reasons for answering all ads that have any promise, some of which we have already discussed. For one thing, the unmentioned details of the job may be very attractive, and not all the qualifications need be met totally.

Also, once you have obtained an interview and met with the employer, that person may well offer you quite a different position when your other skills become apparent.

Another reason is that when a company is actively hiring in one category, it usually is expanding in general, so it may have other types of openings as well. Even if you do not like the job for which you initially were interviewed, chances are that the same company has other openings available in other job categories.

If a company is in financial difficulty, it will try to replace employees who quit with an existing employee, or divide the duties among the remaining employees, or even dispense with the position altogether. The very fact that the company has actively tried to fill the position from the outside by placing a want ad indicates that it is financially healthy and that other positions will be available as well.

So when contacting employers by phone, or during interviews, ask whether there are any other types of openings, other than the one you are applying for, that you might be qualified to handle. Since this other opening has not yet been advertised, you will be at an advantage and the employer will be pleased to have filled it so quickly.

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