Uncover the Hidden Easter Eggs in Job Descriptions (+ Bunnies)

by | Apr 17, 2019

Here at the UTS Careers Blog, we’re suckers for a theme; and with Easter coming up we’ve turned our sights on Easter Eggs – but not of the chocolate variety.

Today, we’re looking at the hidden Easter Eggs (aka the hidden messages or secret features) you’ll often see in job descriptions. The small details or phrases that say one thing but really mean another. Read on to find out what they mean and how you can use them to your advantage!

Semi-coded language

It’s very common to start reading a job ad and see a tonne of descriptions about what the employer is looking for in a candidate, but they might not come out and immediately say what they want.

For example, you might read something like: ‘We’re looking for a dynamic team player to work in a diverse, fast-paced environment’. What are they really asking for? Someone with teamwork skills, the ability to work well under stress, able to communicate diplomatically and to tight deadlines. Boom, you’ve decoded it!

two brown rabbits in a field

So when you go to write your resume or cover letter, rather than only addressing the dot pointed ‘requirements’ listed in the ad, also give the actual description of the role a proper read through and try to pull out the skills they’re referring to. Then all you need to do is think of some examples from your own life where you’ve showcased these abilities, and presto you’re already well on your way!

As a bonus, here are a few decoded phrases you might come across:

‘Proactive self-starter’

You may often see the phrase ‘proactive self-starter’ bandied about and have no idea what it means – basically, they want someone who can be self-motivated to carry out their work without handholding , in control of their projects and planning ahead, while also able to take initiative when they notice something that can be improved.

‘All-rounder’

They want someone with experience in a variety of areas of the industry, someone who is versatile and able to handle whatever might be thrown at them.

‘Strong interpersonal skills’

They want you to be able to demonstrate that you can successfully communicate with, connect to, and form positive relationships with others. Emotional intelligence is also an important part of having strong interpersonal skills.

 

Business bios give secret insight

The short business bio many companies give at the beginning of a job description may seem a bit superfluous, but it can actually give you good insight into their culture and what they’re looking for in a candidate.

Brown rabbit on blanket on a bed

Achievements

First, look at any partnerships, awards, or achievements they mention in the posting. These are great starting points for you to start researching the company and can help you answer the basic interview questions of ‘Why do you want to work for this company?’ or ‘What makes you passionate about this industry?’ or to help you tailor your application. Employers want a candidate who really knows their business. Refer to the successes you’ve researched and you’ve done well.

‘Growing’

If they say they’re ‘growing’ then you know the company is either relatively new, or the team you’d be on is expanding. This tells you that they’re doing well and looking ahead to a positive future (at least in the short term – no one can actually see the future). It’s a good indication that they’re excited about moving forward, and may perhaps (although this is no guarantee) have an employee pool that slants slightly younger than an older, more established businesses.

Client base

They may also mention their clients or customers in this part of the position description. How do they talk about them and the service they provide to them? Do they use phrases like ‘building relationships’, ‘trust’, or ‘empowering’? Then you probably will need to have pretty crash hot communication skills. This type of wording shows that (a) you need to be able to communicate effectively to the target audience/client/consumer that they have outlined, and (b) be able to

Who you’ll be working with

grey and white rabbit in grass

Many job ads give details about what teams or people in the business you would be working with. This is a signifier that it’s time to get your sleuthing cap on.

 

Research what those teams do – either in general terms just by Googling the team’s title, or by actually going on the company’s LinkedIn page, clicking through to ‘People’ and seeing who works there. Chances are, some of the people on those teams may be on your interview panel so getting to know a bit about them can not only make you less stressed, but can help you tailor your responses.

Looking through their LinkedIn profiles also gives you a good idea of how they describe the work they do, their skills, and their experience. You may even come across people in other roles that are similar to the one you’re applying for which can help you customised your application even further.

grey rabbit on grass next to fairy lights

There you have it! You’ve uncovered many of the hidden gems and secrets from within a job ad that you may not have noticed before. Don’t forget to take a screenshot or save any position descriptions that you apply for so that if you are invited to the interview stage, you can look back over it to prepare.

 

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

By Mia Casey

By Mia Casey

Copywriter

Mia is a Sydney-based copywriter and content creator, who has run the UTS Careers Blog since its conception in 2016.
 
She has experience writing both long and short-form content, as well as across social media, website copy, EDMs, newsletters, and ad hoc marketing content.
 
Her freelance work focuses on branding development and helping companies create a cohesive identity narrative tailored for each of their platforms.
 
She enjoys piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.

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