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How can  analysing job adverts  make your job searching more effective?  We know how important the letter that accompanies our Application Form or CV can be. To a great extent the content of our application cover letter is decided by what is in the advert. Sadly, many job adverts are not very helpful to the reader.

Job adverts can often:

Be vague and lacking in detail concerning the position

Omit key requirements of the job that misinform or mislead

Make extravagant claims regarding earnings

Give little or no detail about the organisation

analysing job adverts will increase the effectiveness of your job search


Whilst a poor job advert may be sending you signals about the organisation and their professionalism, if we follow certain rules, we can increase our chances of ensuring we do not dismiss opportunities lightly. Okay, we can usually telephone the company as part of our research and get the details that we need. However, when this is not possible, the best thing to do is to do the best with the information we have. That means reading and assessing the advert carefully. Just remember – five more minutes reading could save you more time in the future and be so rewarding.

What to look for when reading job adverts

Your first task is reading and analysing the advert properly. You should identify the key requirements by highlighting the key words in the advert that shows what the company requires from the applicant. You can ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is the employer looking for overall?
  2. What skills/qualifications/experience the employer states you must have?
  3. What skills/qualifications/experience the employer states they would like you to have but are not absolutely necessary?
  4. What skills the role requires that are inferred but not stated in the advert?

Read the advertisement again, this time writing down how you can match all these criteria. Then once you have answered those questions, armed with that information you can start to plan how to show you meet their requirements in your letter or on the  job Application Form.

If you are sending a CV as part of the application process, you can now tailor your CV specifically towards this job.
Let’s try this method using the following advertisement.

Darshan, James & Williams Solicitors are opening a new branch in Anytown.  As a result we are seeking to appoint an experienced full time Personal / Administrative Assistant.Working for all three partners, the successful candidate will initially be responsible for the running of the office and the role has the potential of promotion dependent on performance.A self-starter with excellent communication skills; good IT skills and a sound knowledge of computerised diary management (preferably Microsoft) are essential.

Due to the nature of our business you may be required to work overtime and occasionally attend courts within the county.

Qualifications are desirable; however we are willing to provide the opportunity to gain recognised qualifications to the successful candidate.

Please send your CV to:

Jesse James,
1 Any Street,

After reading this advert we can now answer our questions.

  1. They require a Personal Assistant with the potential to become an Office Manager.
  2. Experience, excellent communication skills, good IT skills, sound knowledge of computerised diary management, able to work overtime.
  3. Knowledge of Microsoft package, qualifications, an older or more mature person.
  4. A self starter with initiative, able to drive, able to prioritise workload, work well under pressure, able to deal with a wide range of people, tactful, flexible, outgoing personality.

Now that we have all the necessary information we can address all the essential (must have), desirable (would like) and hidden (inferred) requirements in our reply. And as they have asked for a CV, this is the time to make sure that it demonstrates all the points raised in the advertisement.

If you are unsure of any particular part of a job advert, it is always worth telephoning the company and asking for information rather than going ahead and presenting an application that fails to deliver.

One of the best ways to stay motivated in a job search is to build a network of contacts.  Not only does this help you reduce job search stress, it can significantly improve your chances of finding the job you deserve.

Want to share your knowledge and experience with others? Have you got a question you would like answered? Maybe you know the answer to a question that has been posted, then use the comment form below.

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