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Friday, September 29, 2023

Decoding the job: what does this description really mean?

When I was frantically applying for jobs in college I usually pulled up the job description and scrolled right down to the qualifications section. If I met all the qualifications, and the overall position sounded interesting, I applied. If only I knew how much time and effort I would waste applying and interviewing for positions I really wasn’t interested in, I would have taken a much different approach. Do yourself a favor and read the job descriptions.

Read them multiple times until you’re crystal clear on what the company and job have to offer you. Then do yourself another favor and take some time to decode the lingo. Companies are infamous for using specific language that can often give you the wrong idea about what exactly the job entails. I’m not saying their lying to you, but as an outsider to their organization, it’s up to you take the time to understand what they really mean. Here is some of the most common job description language, decoded:

“Customer business development” = Sales. Anything from cold calling to signing deals

“Growth opportunities” = You’ll likely be starting entry level at a lower salary with opportunity to grow in the company later on

“Flexible hours” = You may have to work late or on the weekend, and be willing to do so

“Fast Paced” = A busy work environment with tight deadlines and pressure to meet them

“Organized/Detailed” = Depending on the job this could range from secretarial work, to working with large amounts of data

“Self-starter” = You will not be spoon fed assignments every day so there will be some self-management involved

Even after you’ve cracked the code of the job description, make sure you have follow up questions if you’re selected for an interview. Ask your interviewer what a “day-in-the-life” is like. Find out about specific projects they work on or clients they work with. And remember, no matter how much you know in advance you never truly learn about a job until you’re doing it. Happy hunting!

For more decoding tricks and job application help, visit

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