Decoding job postings is the very first step in the process of finding a job, and if job seekers don’t understand what employers are looking for, their job searches may be doomed. Unless you’re very familiar with the specific company or HR lingo, it’s easy to feel confused and unsure if you should apply for the job.
Fortunately, most employers use a limited vocabulary in their position descriptions. So, as long as job seekers understand the meaning behind a handful of phrases, they can decipher what employers are trying to communicate. We’ve decoded nine popular phrases to help maximize your job search efforts.
If a position is described as part time or PT, then it technically means it’s less than the normal 40 hours a week. According to the U.S. government’s description, a part-time job is one that requires between zero and 30 hours per week. However, many companies consider 10-20 hours part time.
On the other hand, full time (FT) is usually considered 40 or more hours of work a week. The government has deemed anything over 30 hours as full time, though. Also, usually full-time positions come with more benefits, such as health and dental insurance, retirement, and paid time off.
Flex-schedule or flex-time refers to the ability to work a less than traditional schedule. For instance, instead of working Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., you might be able to work three 12-hour days or four 10-hour days. It can also indicate that the employer allows its employees to set their own schedules.
If you’re interested in working from home, this is one of the key words you should look for in a job posting. Tele-commuting is the ability for an employee to complete their work from home, usually by phone or computer.
Employers who list self-motivated in job postings want individuals who can complete tasks and projects on their own without much direction or pressure from others. Business leaders don’t want to constantly tell employees what they need to do or what comes next, so many employers look for this quality.
Almost every job requires employees to interact with other people, whether co-workers, customers, or suppliers. So, the term “people skills” just means you need to have the ability to effectively communicate and get along with others.
Job postings usually list some things that are required and some that are preferred. For instance, the job description might say a high school degree is required, but some college is preferred. This shouldn’t cause you to automatically give up on that position. If something is listed as “preferred” it just means it’s something the employer would like to see, not something they must have.
Goal-oriented is sometimes another way of saying self-motivated. Someone who is goal-oriented usually wants to have specific goals and is driven to accomplish those goals, often with limited instruction or supervision. This can also mean that a business is looking for someone who’s willing to put in as much time and effort as necessary for a goal to be met.
Some jobs are more individually-focused and some require a group effort. If a position will involve interacting with several other employees in order to accomplish tasks on a regular basis, then an employer needs a worker who can get along with everyone and work within a team.
Understanding what employers are really looking for is the first step to landing the job you want. And the good news is that, once you’ve decoded a job posting, you don’t necessarily have to match up to the description 100%. A Forbes article actually recommends that you should “consider applying if you come close to meeting about 70% of the employer’s stated specifications and salary range” because “while the employer wants the person who gets hired to have all (or most) of the skills, experience and background listed, they’re also looking for candidates who’ll be a strong fit with their organizations.” By learning to decipher job postings and apply this 70% rule, you can minimize wasted time and ensure your efforts are going to jobs that are good fits and possibilities.
Have you struggled with deciphering a job posting? What other words or phrases are confusing to you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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