When you’re looking for a new job, it’s hard not to get overwhelmed by almost everything. The longer you look (especially if you’re unemployed), the more overwhelming it can become. Even so, if you want to find the job of your dreams – or any job for that matter – it’s important to focus and learn how to read between the lines.
Just like you’ve spent time polishing up your resume in search of that perfect job, employers have spent time doing the same in order to land the perfect candidate. This means that what may seem like the perfect job is the opposite.
- With that in mind, here are a few key phrases you’ll see, and what they really mean.
This description is sometimes combined with “team player,” which is confusing when you think about it. Should you do things independently? Or should you work with others? In reality, it means both. It also means you’ll be left to fend for yourself, but when team work is required, you should be prepared to keep the ideas flowing while maintaining a good work relationship with your peers.
- If you are someone who likes a clear path and organizational flow, or someone who prefers feedback—whether negative or positive— you may want to keep looking.
“Good Under Pressure”
This isn’t complicated at all. This is actually a nice way saying, “Prepare to be micromanaged.” On the upside, there will be constant feedback. On the other side, this means every project, every hour, every day will be considered the most important thing you’ve ever done, but it will all be difficult to complete anything since you’ll be constantly reporting and answering to others.
- If you love high stress environments, this may be for you. Otherwise, take a pass.
“Unlimited Earning Potential”
In most cases, this is code for “you will work on commission.” Although most jobs have a set salary or hourly rate, some are based on commission alone. Jobs in sales are commonly commission based, but certainly not all. When you’re paid on commission only, you don’t get paid unless you make a sale. Not every job posting will list exact salary details, if you see this phrase you should see if a notation regarding “base pay” is noted.
- If you need a consistent, dependable paycheck, working on commission alone shouldn’t be your first choice. Unless you make the sale, you may be working for free.
“Excellent [Fill in the Blank]”
This means they are trying to sell you on the job. They want to encourage more people to apply by setting themselves apart from the rest. They want you to know that their salary, benefits, etc. is better than the rest. This isn’t always a bad thing, but you should know that “excellent” is a relative term. What’s great to some may be lackluster to others.
- If you see this descriptor, it doesn’t mean you should pass. It only means that you should proceed with caution.
“Very” or “Extremely”
That posting looking for an extremely organized person, or a very enthusiastic person? It’s there for emphasis. This means just what you think it means: Don’t apply unless you are VERY organized or EXTREMELY enthusiastic. It’s a warning. They are telling you what is expected should you land the job.
- If you do not meet these requirements, hold out for a better fit.
Knowing what employers really mean in their job posting can save you the headache of starting a new job, only to regret it later. Remember that you aren’t the only one polishing up your resume to attract the best—your new potential employer is probably doing it too.
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