Reading a job ad can be a bit like interpreting a language you don’t speak. Regardless how you try to understand it, it’s often impossible to garner more than a marginal meaning of what’s being said. And even to an experienced job searcher, that’s often not much.
The same often holds true for job seekers attempting to decipher job ads before applying.
As you would guess, job ads are written by HR and hiring pros; people familiar with the various
jobs within their company. They, along with the department head or manager actually reques-
ting the hire, often put their heads together to determine which top hard, soft and peripheral skills
it takes to perform a job at peak level to achieve the greatest success. And remember, each company has different requirements for similar jobs.
While that’s all well and good, their interpretation may be far different from yours when read-
ing the job ad. Unfortunately, even simple words and phrases, when strung together by hiring pros can be difficult to understand – like hieroglyphics and squiggly lines you can’t fathom.
This article breaks down verbiage, used in the average job ad, into easy-to-understand language. Words which suss out the actual meaning of what’s being said in job ads. In short, specific, commonly used words – along with a variety of others – are translated into straight-forward, simple to understand meanings to help you determine whether a job is right for you or not.
Here are 3 of the top descriptions hiring pros like to use:
‘Must be a multitasker’
One of the top words hiring pros like to use is ‘multitasking’ and ‘multitasker’. Can’t blame companies for expecting you to be capable of doing more than one thing at a time. And, on the surface, ‘multi-tasking’ sounds like a great skill to have; one you’d be appreciated for possessing.
When reading an ad, most overlook the technical meaning of the word ‘multitasking’. Which is the simultaneous execution of many tasks. It also means processing multiple items or situations. Or – cross-functioning or multi-functional. To most, it means versatile – able to do several things well and/or at one time.
Take a postal clerk- they can definitely be called multitaskers. An individual comes up to the counter and the clerk may be required to perform several different tasks to complete the individual’s request. And it must be done quickly and efficiently.
To a company ‘Multitasker’ can mean:
- Successfully juggle many things at once.
- Individual hired must be capable of doing everything and anything asked of them – regardless whether it falls within their bailiwick.
- You can be called upon at any time – being required to temporarily leave your own job – to work on a project or handle a situation seemingly more important than your own job.
On the surface, multitasking may suggest only that you are expected to balance, prioritize and complete work in specified times and in order of importance. However, below the surface the word can mean far more than that to a company who posts it in a job ad. This can only be learned once you are on-the-job.
On the other hand:
If you prefer to have a simple work situation, where everything is laid out and you know what’s expected of you: The word ‘multitasking’ should sound alarm bells for you.
The ability to work together with co-workers is an absolute requirement for all employees. And why decision-makers and interviewers have hiring top candidates who possess the Soft Skill Teamwork near the top of their must-have skills list. Most work communities are specialized; requiring employees to work closely – in partnership – with each other in order to keep work flowing and optimally get their jobs done.
Teamwork is the ultimate in collaboration; something companies encourage and strive for. When employees have worked together long enough, they are united in a shared sense of purpose. Usually willing to set aside any prejudices to come together effectively as a group.
However, when it comes to listing the word ‘teamwork’ within a job ad it can mean something slightly to far different. For busy companies, where the action is fast and furious – ‘teamwork’ can run along the same lines as ‘multitasking’.
In this case it may – instead – mean the company wants someone who can and will do the so-called ‘dirty work’. The department’s most difficult work – which no one else will do. That said, they often find themselves required to hire from outside the company.
This can include picking up the work for someone who has ‘dropped the ball’ or created more issues and problems than they solved. To this company, ‘teamwork’ can also mean performing work others failed to complete. In time, this can become a frustrating scenario. Where work you perform is noted as work completed by others.
If the job ad says ‘teamwork required’ check with anyone you know working for that company. Ask a LinkedIn connection for a referral to someone who works for that company so you can discover what the job actually entails before applying.
On the other hand:
If you don’t shy away from ‘teamwork’, when heading into an interview be prepared to use the word teamwork, or related words, to make it clear to the interviewer you possess this skill. Add it, or related words, into your Resume and LinkedIn Profile.
Those with entrepreneurial skills are independent sorts; they can pick up the ball and run with it – no qualifications or instructions required. Unfortunately, some companies will expect those who are ‘entrepreneurial’ to decide – for themselves – what should be done and how to do it. Rather than developing a solid job description, with a definite set of responsibilities, you’ll find yourself trying to figure out what to do and how to do it. Since you don’t have a definite job description, you may be pulled in several different directions; sometimes at once. Which can present you with a unique set of problems.
Bottom line the phrase ‘entrepreneurial skills’ can suggest ‘Jack of all trades.’
It can provide you with a different set of problems during raise and job performance times. When it will be difficult for almost anyone – including your boss – to determine what you’ve done (accomplished), how well you’ve done it and whether a raise is in order. In short, jobs which require ‘entrepreneurial abilities’ make it difficult for both you – and your boss – to determine exactly what you’ve accomplished or successfully achieved.
The ‘entrepreneurial work environment’ is described as ‘Fast Paced’.
This can mean anything from there are many people performing a variety of types of jobs at a fever pitch; in a small space or close quarters. To – it’s a highly volatile environment which requires everyone to be working full bore daily.
Carefully read and re-read, if necessary, each ad for a job you’re interested in applying for. If you’re unaware of what a word means, use a thesaurus or dictionary to discover the actual meaning. Go to the Internet and type in the phrase ‘meaning of …….’. Ask a friend, or significant other, whether they feel you’d be a fit for that specific job. In short, once you better understand what these phrases mean you’re better able to decide if these are jobs you believe you are qualified for, would be challenged by and happy performing. And, bottom line, better able to discuss this job during an interview.