The Hidden Meanings in Job Postings

April 28, 2016

Career Advice

16821460836_7af5bd5cae_zAlthough the way we search for a job has changed by leaps and bounds, it seems job postings have remained the same. Don’t read every word on a job description verbatim. “If a candidate has many, but not all the required skills, and a solid track record, many times the intangibles they possess may be enough to give them a good chance to get an interview,” says Timothy J. Tolan, CEO and Managing Partner at Next Level Interim Search.

Here are some translations of your typical job posting and what they really mean:

Minimum Years Required: Don’t be intimidated by this if the years required are more than you possess. For instance, if it says two to three and you have only one…. apply anyway! If it reads five to 10 and you have three to four… apply anyway! You may have other valuable skills that may trump your years of experience. 

Anything That Says “Preferred:” Don’t let the word “preferred” turn you off! See it for what it is, a “good to have” skill. Again, if you don’t have the preferred skills they request, be sure to let them know about other skills you do have that might improve your chances to get the job. Remember, negotiation is key in a job search and you can have an influence on the hiring manager/recruiter.

Responsibilities: These can seem a bit lengthy, like a grocery list. But don’t be put off. Responsibilities can vary in time and priority, which is hard to define in any job description. Also, these may change slightly by the time the job is filled. Be ready to ask lots of questions about the direction of the role during the interview.

Proven Performance: Work experience can be proven through a portfolio, references, or behavioral questions. During any interview, there’s a good chance you’ll get a string of behavioral interview questions that dig into about your past experiences and provide you a chance to show off your skills. Be able to provide them showing how you accomplished a task or project.

Required/Familiarity with/Working Knowledge of: These words mean exactly what they say. Don’t lie about a required skill you don’t have. However, once again, if you feel like some skills or experiences you do have trumps the language used in the job description, and you can prove it, by all means apply and write a cover letter that will get you the interview.

Photo credit: Got Credit


About Spectrum Brands Careers

Spectrum Brands is a global $5 Billion Consumer Products company headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin. While you may not be familiar with the Spectrum Brands name, there is no doubt you will recognize some of our brands.

View all posts by Spectrum Brands Careers


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