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How to decode a job advert

Posted on 23 February 2022

How to decode a job advert

​8-minute read


When your job search is an active one, sometimes you click apply without really looking at the job advert. Don’t worry, we have all done it, but believe us, it is worth taking that extra time and care to truly identify if that particular opening is right for you.


Over the years we have seen job adverts come in all shapes and sizes, from the obscenely large to the ridiculously small. A job advert (when done correctly) will usually be broken down into several sections, split by paragraphs or bullet points to make for easier reading.


Understanding how to decode a job advert correctly will help you apply for the right positions more often, giving you a better opportunity in the process long term.


In this article we will decode what we would say is a typical job advert, be wary however especially, with recruitment agencies with the lack of detail included in a job advert. They either do not know enough about the company or the job might be fake, either way, it might result in a loss of time on your part.


A typical advert will usually contain:

  • Job Title

  • Company Narrative

  • Role

  • Responsibilities

  • Required Skills

  • The package on offer (not always the salary, usually benefits)


Job Title

This is the easiest one to decode, it will be the title you hold if you secure the position. Often titles are similar across companies (Frontend Developer) but every once in a while you come across an obscure title (Digital Overlord – basically a Website Manager), if this is the case try and find others with the same title on social media and compare your skills with theirs.


Company Narrative

Think of the company narrative as the ‘sell’ of the business. This is where you will find their ‘why’ when it comes to you working for them, the impact you will have within their organisation as well as their mission and potentially their values.

Take note of the language they use here; this text is usually boilerplate text that has been crafted for this specific purpose and it will give you an indication of their company’s culture and how they want to portray themselves externally.



The role is generally a narrative around what you will be doing, as well as who you will be working alongside. This generally forms a couple of sentences towards the top of the advert, look out for specific buzz words and phrases that could be replicated in your CV to create subliminal cohesion between you and the company.



This section is where you will see the most detail within the advert. The responsibilities listed should be everything someone will have to accomplish whilst in this position.

Responsibilities are usually written in order of importance with the top half of the list being the ‘core’ of the opening.

The key here is to identify if you can already accomplish everything set out in this section or at the very least the top half. If not, then maybe this is not the position for you just yet.


Required Skills

Organisations tend to go list crazy with skills, covering every possible angle. The good news however is similar to responsibilities, they are usually written in order of importance, with sub-headings ‘required’ and ‘preferred’.

If you are still developing a certain skill (React for example) and are not entirely sure if you have the skills for this particular opening, check to see where it falls against the ‘required’ or ‘preferred’ lists.

You might find that an organisation lists multiple tools in the same language, making it a little unclear what they actually use. Do a little research using social media to identify the current stack the team have and use this as a guideline of importance when it comes to the skills, alternatively if you are still stuck reach out to the hiring manager or recruiter directly (you can find their details usually on the job advert).


The package on offer (not always the salary, usually benefits)

The final aspect that makes up a typical job advert is the package section. This section will often only include the benefits in a list form such as company holidays, education budget, transportation ticket etc. and rarely will give numerical details for the position.

If something you desire is not listed, don’t let that put you off applying. Many organisations list the benefits that appeal to the mass and are more than willing to negotiate the right package for you if the match is right on both sides.

We highly recommend reading every job advert in full before applying, although titles might seem similar across companies the actual responsibilities and skills could be vastly different. Blindly sending your CV will send the wrong impression of who you are to the market and potentially burn bridges for you later down the line.


Feel free to bookmark this page for future references to have handy next time you are reading through a job advert.

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