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What do I need to know about job adverts?

In today's cut-throat job marketplace, employers are constantly competing with one another to attract the best most suitably qualified candidates for their vacancies. The unimaginative identikit recruitment adverts that once dominated the job pages for years, are being replaced by skilfully created and well crafted adverts designed to lure you.

Writing job adverts is now a job in itself.

However, with advertising costs at a premium and ad space restricted, recruiters have to rely on certain characteristics and features that are common to most, if not all, recruitment adverts.

The reliance on stock phrases such as ‘enthusiastic, dynamic, forward-thinking, team player, pro-active' does little to tell candidates what the recruiter is actually looking for. But despite the fact that numerous studies have revealed that the majority of job seekers want straightforward, straight talking job adverts, the clichés are here to stay.

So, what do they actually mean?

Here is your jargon buster for some the most common terms used in recruitment adverts:

Team player
As it's unlikely that anyone would claim the opposite, statements like this become meaningless. When was the last time you ever saw an advert asking for a ‘Recluse'? They essentially want someone with a bit of personality who won't break their team dynamics and is willing to help with tasks outside their job role when required.

Results focused
Employers want a return on their investment in you. They are looking for someone who wants to work, is prepared to do what it takes to fulfil their job function, and has awareness of how their actions affect the company as a whole.

In other words, are you innovative, creative, are you the type of person who thinks intelligently and can generate ideas to improve things? This is one of the words that replaced ‘young' when age legislation came into force, but anyone who takes an interest in what they do and future possibilities can show dynamism.

Be prepared to be deployed to meet the demands of the business. This could involve relocating to another office or working extra hours - even weekends.

Competitive salary
Personally I prefer the word ‘attractive'. You wouldn't ask for a test-drive of a new car if you didn't know how much it costs to buy first. So why do recruiters hide the salary that is being offered? Perhaps they haven't decided what it is yet? Perhaps they want to hide it from their current employees?

Don't be put off by this, but do try and find out as early in the process as possible what the possible range is to save you wasting your time with roles way under the value you're looking for.

‘On Target Earnings'. This means that your take-home pay will be part basic salary and part performance-related pay. Se sure to ask about the targets at the interview and then decide if they are realistically achievable or not.

Recruitment is a selling game. Employers are selling their businesses to you and will try to entice the best applicants to work for them. And you are selling yourself to the employers when you send off your application.

So, cut through the jargon and identify what the job really entails. Don't be deterred by the flamboyant use of language in some adverts.

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