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Reading & Using Job Ads

This resource was written by Allen Brizee.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on August 7, 2009 .

Summary:
These pages will help you read and use job ads so you can write your résumé and cover letter or fill out a job application.

Introduction

These pages will help you read and use job ads so you can write your résumé and cover letter or fill out a job application. To use these pages, you may select links in the navigation bar on the left, you may select links from the list below, or you may advance through the pages using the links at the bottom of each page. Click here to download the PDF file containing sample résumés and employment letters.

The job ad pages are orgnized into the following sections:

 

Reading & Using Job Ads Part 1

This resource was written by Allen Brizee.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on April 29, 2010 .

Summary:
This resource is the first of two parts that will help you understand how to read and use job ads so you can write your résumé and cover letter or fill out a job application.

Not all job ads look the same. You may be reading job ads in a newspaper, on a flier, or even from the Internet. In order to use the job ads to help you write your résumé and cover letter, follow the steps listed below.

What do I need to know from the job ad?

Once you find a job ad you are interested in, highlight the four most important areas of information:

  1. The company name, the company contact information, and company description
  2. The job title (and job number if applicable) and job requirements
  3. The contact person
  4. Application requirements

 

Company Name

Highlighting the company name in job ads will help you organize your job search. You may also want to list company names and job information on a separate piece of paper. Highlighting the company name will also help you tailor your résumé and cover letter, and it will help you spell the company name correctly.

To tailor your résumé and cover letter to a specific company, use the name of the company in the objective line in the résumé and in the introduction of your cover letter. The name can also tell you about the company. For example, if you are looking for a landscaping job, a company named Joe’s Custodial may not be the place for you.

Company Contact Information

Highlighting and keeping track of the company contact information will help you organize your job search. You may apply for a lot of jobs, and keeping company names and contact information together will help you avoid mixing up résumés, cover letters, and applications. The company contact information will go at the top of your cover letter. The contact information will also go on the envelope you use to mail your documents if you use the postal services to submit your résumé and cover letter.

Company Description

Highlighting important words in the company description (if included in the job ad) will help you learn about the organization and the people looking for employees. You can learn about the company’s goals from their description.

You can use a company’s goals in your cover letter to explain how you are a good match for their organization. For example, if a company describes itself as a “fast-paced, team oriented food service,” you can write in your cover letter that you do well in fast-paced jobs where people have to work together. Of course, you will have to show that you have some experience in a fast-paced, team oriented job to support your position.

Job Title and Job Number (if applicable)

Highlighting the job title, job number if applicable, and job requirements will help you organize your job search. You will use the job title and job number in the objective line of your résumé and in the introduction of your cover letter.

Job Requirements

Highlighting the job tasks and requirements will help you explain how you can fill the position. For example, if the requirements for a warehouse job state “applicant must be able to lift and carry 100 pounds and drive a forklift,” you should explain in your letter that you can do those tasks: “In my job at Small Car Parts International, I worked in their warehouse where I lifted and carried boxes weighing 100 pounds. I also drove the warehouse forklift.”

You should highlight the amount of experience required for the job. For example, if the ad reads “applicants must be licensed cosmetologists and should have a minimum of two years of experience,” you should explain that you meet those needs: “I finished cosmetology school in 2007 and have worked at Mary’s Beauty Boutique since then.”

You should also highlight certification or license requirements, such as Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or cosmetology license requirements.

Click here to download the PDF file containing sample résumés and employment letters.

 

Reading & Using Job Ads Part 2

This resource was written by Allen Brizee.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on February 14, 2012 .

Summary:

This resource is the second page covering how to read and use job ads so you can write your résumé and cover letter or fill out a job application.

The Contact Person

Highlighting the contact person, her/his address, phone number, and email address (if applicable) is very important because you will be sending your job search documents to this person. You will also be addressing this person directly in your cover letter. If the job ad does not list a contact person, try searching the company’s Website. You may also call the company to get the contact person’s name. For some jobs, though, you may be sending your résumé and cover letter to a human resource department with no specific contact person.

Make sure you spell all of the information about the contact person and/or the mailing address correctly. Spelling the contact person’s name wrong may hurt your chances of getting an interview.

Application Requirements

Highlight requirements for submitting information about yourself. Important questions to answer are:

Other important questions to answer are:

What are some other things I should look for when reading job ads?

Other important areas of information to note when you read job ads include:

Click here to download the PDF file containing sample résumés and employment letters.

Understanding Job Ads Part 1

This resource was written by Allen Brizee.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on April 29, 2010 .

Summary:
This first resource will help you understand how employers usually organize their job ads. This second resource will help you understand what employers mean when they use terms you might not know.

How are job ads organized?

Most job ads are divided into four sections: 1) a job description; 2) a qualifications section; 3) an explanation of what the employee will have to do; 4) application requirements and contact information.

Job Description

This section contains the title and basic description of the job:

Driver/warehouse worker: Hoosier Distribution in Lafayette seeks an entry-level, full-time warehouse worker who can also drive a delivery truck.

Qualifications Section

The qualifications section usually gives the basic qualifications for the position:

Applicants should be dependable and have strong work skills. Applicants should be able to lift and carry 100 pounds, track inventory, and work well in teams. Applicants should also have at least 2 yrs. exp. working in a warehouse, have a good driving record, and be able to use maps and directions to drive non-CDL trucks.

Explanation Section

The explanation section briefly describes what the employee will do on the job:

Warehouse work includes receiving, tracking, and storing merchandise, using hand trucks and manual labor to lift and carry merchandise. Driving includes over night routes in northern Indiana driving non-CDL trucks to deliver merchandise.


Application Requirements and Contact Information

The application requirements and contact information sections will explain what you need to do to apply for the job. The section should also include the address and/or phone number of the employer:

To apply, send cover letter and résumé to: Reggie Lee, Hoosier Distribution
Lafayette Warehouse, 500 Farabee Ct., Lafayette, IN 47905. Apply by June 25.

Click here to download the PDF file containing sample résumés and employment letters.

 

Understanding Job Ads Part 2

This resource was written by Allen Brizee.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on July 31, 2009 .

Summary:
This resource will help you understand what employers mean when they use terms you may not know.

What do employers mean when they say…?

Reading job ads can be confusing. Sometimes, the employer uses terms you may not know. Sometimes different companies mean different things when they include terms like “more qualified” or “some experience” in job ads. This section will help you understand what companies mean when they write their job ads.

Entry-level position: Entry-level position means that workers will help other employees that rank above them in the company’s pay system. Entry-level positions usually require the least amount of education and experience in the company. Entry-level positions usually pay the least amount but can require some responsibility.

Mid-level position: Mid-level position means that workers will be paid more than entry-level employees but that they will be helping higher-level employees or managers. Mid-level positions usually require some education and/or experience. Mid-level positions usually require a fair amount of responsibility.

High-level or management position: High-level or management position means that workers will be paid the most in the company. However, these positions require the most education and/or experience. High-level or management positions also require the most responsibility in the company.

Fast-paced environment: Fast-paced environment usually means that employees must work in busy and often stressed situations.

Works well with deadlines: Works well with deadlines means that employees will probably have to complete tasks within a certain amount of time. Employees will probably be expected to work extra hours or more hours to finish these tasks by the time they are due.

Team worker: Team worker means that employees will be working with one another rather than by themselves.

Self-starter: Self-starter means that employees will work without a lot of supervision by mid- or high-level employees.

Good communication skills: Good communication skills means that employees will probably be speaking and maybe even writing to customers and with one another.

Good English skills: Good English skills means that employees will have to speak and maybe even write to customers and with one another mainly in English.

Important to look for in language description is the word that comes before “English.” For example, fair English skills means that employees may not have to have to talk a lot with customers. Only basic conversation may be necessary.

Excellent English skills, however, probably means that employees have to be able to speak with customers or one another in English a lot. Employees will probably have to be able to explain job-related information in detail using English.

Self transportation
: Self transportation means that employees must be able to get themselves to either the job location or sites where jobs are being done. For example, a landscaping job may require that employees show up to the company location and the sites where landscaping is being done. However, many landscaping-type jobs require employees to show up at the company location while the company drives them to job sites.

Good driving record: Good driving record means that employees will be driving some sort of vehicle. Companies requiring good driving records will probably depend on workers to complete some part of their business. For example, a good driving record will be required for food delivery. An excellent driving record may be required for a truck delivery job since the merchandise in the truck may be very valuable.

Room for advancement: Room for advancement means that employees may be able to move from an entry-level to a mid-level position or from a mid-level to a high-level position.

Click here to download the PDF file containing sample résumés and employment letters.