In the previous post in this career management series I introduced you to a process for writing accomplishment statements which is one of the key stages, in my view, of your career management activity. Before I go any further into writing CVs, completing application forms and interview topics, I wanted to provide some insight into deciphering situation vacant advertisments.

Why is this an important career management activity?

Why? Because by being able to decipher the advert, you can find cues and clues as to what you can include in your CV, application forms and covering letters to attract the attention of a recruiter.

Career management – deciphering the code

All seems a bit ‘Walter Mitty’ doesn’t it. It really isn’t that secretive, the situation vacant advert has a few purposes:

  • To introduce the employer. Bit about the company and industry
  • To introduce the vacancy, title, department and key responsibilities
  • To highlight the key skills and expertise of the ‘ideal’ candidate
  • To provide an overview of the key personal characteristics and traits of the ‘ideal’ candidate
  • To tell you how to apply

The really key pieces for you, assuming that the employer and role appear attractive, is to be able to find the key skills & expertise requirements and the desirable personal characteristics.

What is so important about these?

These are important as you have to firstly satisfy yourself that you have a very good match in terms of skills and character to the requirements that have been identified. When I say very good, I would expect a 70% plus match. You then need to establish what evidence you have to demonstrate to the prospective employer that you meet the criterial, this is where the career management foundation work on getting to know yourself better and accomplishment statements will pay dividends.

I’ll talk you through this in a little more detail when we get to application forms and covering letters

A practical example

Here is an example of an advert to demonstrate the process:

We are an ambitious distribution comany, supplying a range of consumer products. Part of a larger group, we are commencing upon the next stage of our growth plan. This requires the development and delivery of strategy to achieve market leadership.
Reporting to the Strategy Director, the successful candidate will be accountable for the provision of leadership, creation and delivery of commercial strategy to maximise profitable business growth.
Candidates must be able to demonstrate success in the ability to create and implement commercial strategy within a fast moving consumer environment. Preferably degree qualified, with significant commercial experience they will need to be committed, energetic and persuasive.
To apply, please send your CV to….

Having read through the advert, I would then highlight or underline the words and phrases that were of interest to me: (underline and highlight)

We are an ambitious distribution company, supplying a range of consumer products. Part of a larger group, we are commencing upon the next stage of our growth plan. This requires the development and delivery of strategy to achieve market leadership.
Reporting to the Strategy Director, the successful candidate will be accountable for the provision of leadership, creation and delivery of commercial strategy to maximise profitable business growth.
Candidates must be able to demonstrate success in the ability to create and implement commercial strategy within a fast moving consumer environment. Preferably degree qualified, with significant commercial experience they will need to be committed, energetic and persuasive.
To apply, please send your CV to….

Now that you have identified the key skills/experience and personal characteristics, you can now set about giving specific examples of how you meet them. This will be a topic for a further post in the career management series so keep watching ;-)

Career management - deciphering situations vacant adverts
Creative Commons License photo credit: Podknox