Interpreting the wording of job adverts

Interpreting the wording of job adverts

Interpreting Job Adverts

Assuming you are indicating your interest in a role by replying to a formal job advertisement, then you need to understand what the wording of the advertisement means.

Job requirements

The first key thing is to identify what the essential requirements listed in the advert are, and what the desirable requirements are.

Essential requirements may be worded as:

  • ‘Candidates should have experience of …’
  • ‘Candidates should have a background in …’
  • ‘Candidates should possess the … qualification’
  • ‘Candidates should have a full driving licence’

Desirable requirements may be worded in a similar fashion, but state that candidates should ‘ideally’ or ‘preferably’ meet these criteria.

Go through the advertisement and highlight all the essential requirements in one colour and the desirable requirements in another colour. You can then decide if an application is worthwhile. Whilst it is not unknown for people to obtain interviews when they don’t meet one of the apparently ‘essential’ criteria, if you don’t meet several of these it is unlikely to be worth your time pursuing an application.

Either way, your application needs to evidence that you meet these essential requirements, and, where applicable, the desirable requirements.

Looking at this advert on the site for a Client Relations Specialist, the essential criteria appear to be:

  • An innovative attitude towards customer service
  • Organisational and task management skills
  • Substantial experience of a client relations role
  • Willing to improve knowledge of anti-money laundering, data protection and any other regulatory requirement

The desirable criteria for the role appear to be:

  • The ability to gain industry qualifications

Job description

If you meet enough of the requirements for the role to make it worth applying, you then need to consider the details of the role that are given in the advert. If you don’t fancy the sound of the job from these details, however brief or detailed they are, then again it is unlikely to be worth your while applying.


If the advert gives details of salary, you should maybe interpret this information as follows:

  • ‘Circa £x’ – the successful candidate will probably receive a salary of less than £x
  • ‘up to £x’ – the stated figure is likely to be an absolute maximum salary, and the company will hope to pay significantly less than this
  • ‘£x to £y’ – unless you are able to negotiate extremely well, and present a fantastic case at interview, your salary is likely to be closer to £x than £y

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