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Applying for Jobs? Use the Job Post to Your Advantage

Part of the job search process includes looking through tens or hundreds of job postings.

(Not sure where to find postings? Check out this article reviewing the best job search sites out there!)

Here are some tips for how to work through each piece of the posting to ensure you’re applying for the right jobs AND setting yourself up for success.

Top Blurb:

What to expect:

In the top section, the company will typically include their sales pitch, highlighting why they are a great organization to work for and what makes this role exciting.

What to do:

Take this section with a grain of salt. Make sure to do your own research and look at outside reviews of the company or job function. Don’t forget: they are just as desperate for a high-quality candidate as you are for a job.


What to expect:

This will include the laundry list of tasks that this role entails. Here you can get a better picture of the day-to-day activities you can expect if you are selected.

What to do:

Spend extra time here before looking further down the post, especially if you are still uncertain about what types of roles you want.

Would you want to do these tasks? People often skip to the requirements and get disheartened before even assessing if the role is interesting to them.


What to expect:

This is what the perfect candidate looks like, and is often on the high end of desired qualifications.

What to do:

Use the 80/20 rule. If you have 80% of the required qualifications, then you should feel confident to apply for the position. Rarely will there be candidates that meet every requirement, and they often aren’t in the salary range that is desired. Don’t get scared off if you aren’t a MENSA member with an olympic medal!


What to expect:

Many companies won’t provide salary details as part of the posting. If it is present, it will likely show a range.

What to do:

Use resources like Glassdoor to assess the expected salary for the position. You’ll want a defensible benchmark before you enter the interview process. If a salary is listed, there is likely some wiggle room to negotiate (depending on firm size, there might be up to $10k of upward movement). However, if your desired salary is well above the range, this isn’t going to be a fit for you and you shouldn’t waste your time.

Additional Details

What to expect:

This untitled section might include various other pieces of information related to the position, their requirements, or the application process.

What to do:

You might be tempted to gloss over this space, but read with care!

Hiring managers are often inundated with candidates, and will hide additional instructions within the fine print of their postings. My company used to request that candidates include their favorite movie in their application (we did not work in the film industry). The core goal was to see who read the instructions, and who followed them. I’ve even heard of companies requesting a random word be included on the cover letter for it to even be considered.


What to expect:

Somewhere in the posting will be instructions. These days, you can typically fill out a short survey, upload your resume and cover letter, and submit your application.

What to do:

Applying online is convenient… and can often lead to your resume being sucked into the black hole of no-response. Stand out by following up via another channel. You could message someone on LinkedIn, send a note to the company email ensuring they received your application, or call into the main line.

If you’re not emotionally ready to take such a big step, at least make sure you’re filling out as much as you can. The cover letter might be “optional,” but someone who is legit interested in the job is going to supply it.

Found the perfect job post, but need help with your resume? Here are some resume tips.


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