How to really, and reliably read job ads is part science, part voodoo, and definitely a big part practice. There’s one quick and decptively simple way to reduce the general ennui glaze that settles in when trying to wade through a dozen or so in a sitting, and instead stay engaged.

You’ll no doubt read dozens, if not hundreds of job advertisements in your career. You poor thing. The good news is that we can help you slice through the bullshit post-haste, and understand the meat of the matter. If you distil each document to its key message and requirements, just about every role can be expressed in a mere handful of lines that paint the reality of the role, and will allow you to understand what it’s really all about.

About ninety percent of any Job Description, Position Description, or job advertisement is meandering filler. They’re that long because they’re that long. Any role can be reduced to an elevator pitch, really, (the only documents that should contain all the long detail are the legally binding contract types) and the rest is there out of misguided tradition.

The most reliable way is if you print a copy and go straight-up old school analogue, something magical happens. Studies like Mangen, Walgermo and Brønnick (2013) reiterate just how important the Ye Olde printed word still is – that Gutenberg kid might just be on to something. This is the way I have been distilling client papers for over a decade in Executive Search, and even though I’ve tried 101 digital exercises designed to mimic it, I always go back to actual pen and paper. Oh, and grab a thick black marker pen too. I’ll wait.

  1. Now the first thing is to blot out the filler text. Straight away the company information goes. It is important, but not yet. Typically, it’s there to paint a more vivid and holistic picture, and that’s a good thing. It’s just not good right now for this exercise.

Next, perks, benefits, location information, and the team details: gone! Now we’re looking at something with at least some semblance to the real requirement. You can see a mock-up we’ve made linked below by clicking the button to illustrate this point.

Once you’re happy with the substantial and brutal reduction of the words it likely took some poor HR or Recruitment exec a pot of coffee to numbly craft (I hope you’re happy), it’s time to write all key descriptive phrases out longhand.

The last step is to re-write every point without sacrificing any meaning, using your own language. Read it, and when you know it’s good, you’ll understand if this is the right (or least possibly right) role for you worth your attention and effort in application. Again, check out the link button below to see what we mean.

Any questions; by all means book a time to speak with us.