Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Job Postings: How to Tell the Good from the Bad and the Ugly

If you are currently looking for a new job, you undoubtedly spend HOURS perusing the ads posted on the Internet for suitable opportunities. Once you have been searching for a while, you will begin to notice that unnamed companies post the same positions repeatedly. On one or perhaps two occasions, you may even take the time to apply for the position. In some cases, you receive a generic replay that tells you how important you are and how the company’s recruiters will be contacting you, should your skill set match their current vacancy; in other cases, you don’t even get an auto response, which will leave you even more dissatisfied with the whole process. The question then becomes, what do you do about it?

  • Keep sending out responses in the hope that someday soon a ‘real person’ will view your résumé and call you in for an interview

  • Get smart about the value of your time and target your responses to ads you deem ‘worthy’


Effective job searching requires a new set of rules for reading and evaluating the multitude of job postings out there. If your goal is to avoid wasting time on mediocre employers, as demonstrated by the time and effort they have taken in writing the ad for the position in the first place, then you need to focus your attention on companies that will help you advance your career. I have devised the following rules to help you do just that:

  1. Don’t bother responding to job postings that ask you to reply to an anonymous e-mail address

  2. Don’t bother responding to ads that have generic job descriptions

  3. Concentrate your efforts on that companies that articulate exactly what needs to be done and what they can and/or will do for you as a result of your success

  4. Stay away from companies that claim that your compensation will be based upon your experience. These companies know what needs to be done and how much they are willing to pay to have the job done. Reliable companies will post a salary range.

  5. Beware of companies that require candidates to submit their applications on-line via software that it theoretically supposed to separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of candidate suitability. Also, look for a statement that indicates how your privacy will be protected should you decide to apply for the position.

  6. Pay close attention to where you send your résumé and supporting documents and don’t bother to re-apply to companies that do not even bother to acknowledge that they have received your application.

  7. Beware of companies that request that you do not follow-up on your application or do not give you any information on how to do so.


When responding to a job ad, take the time to detail how you are the candidate they seek. Address every element in the original posting and let them know that you will be calling them within a week to either set up an appointment to meet face-to-face or at least touch base via telephone.


Copyright © 2010, Career Matters. All Rights Reserved.Permission to Reprint: This article may be reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution: Copyright © 2010, Career Matters. Reprinted by permission of Mary Salvino.

“Career Matters” is a blog hosted by Mary Salvino, Senior Consultant for SMART Career Planning.com. The blog is dedicated to those who are seeking advice on managing their career and future job opportunities. We welcome readers to share their experiences, post their comments or ask questions about career related matters. For questions and comments that are better addressed privately , you can e-mail Mary directly at Mary.Salvino@shaw.ca