The first step to understanding the ad is simply TO READ IT. If you are asked for a sample of your handwriting or for copies of certificates or for academic results – send them. Requesting the academic results means that the advertiser does not want to receive your certificates and vice versa.

Make an effort to see beyond what is written. No job ad can ever describe an opportunity in its entire minutia. Equally, no professional position ever turns out to be exactly as expected. The new employee and the position adapt to each other in an organic process.

Try to decide what sort of ad you are reading. Some ads are very specific about what is required and what is offered. Generally official job ads are of this sort. Some try to convey the flavour of what is required and it is only by evaluating the applicant’s CV that a likely match is to be found between applicant and job. Or the ad may just be trying to get your attention in order to develop a database. An honest recruiter will clearly indicate that this is the case.

There are basically two sources of job ads, by the employer or by an external recruiter. There is little to choose between the two as in both cases your application will usually go through an intermediary. Whoever reads it has to integrate all the elements of the CV to decide what response is required. Even a line manager, a decision maker with insight into the job, is faced with the same questions. Often a good recruiter or talent person develops a feel for whether the applicant is a good match to the opportunity.

There are applicants who submit their details to any and every job they find. All this does is to enable the recruiter to press the delete button as they get overexposed to the applicant’s name. Make sure that your CV at least comes close to what the ad is saying and asking for.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Simon Shane

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