How to Read Between the Lines of a Job Posting, with Justin Dux

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Transcript

Find Your Dream Job, Episode 151:

How to Read Between the Lines of a Job Posting, with Justin Dux

Airdate: August 8, 2018

Mac Prichard:

Hi, this is Mac of Mac’s List. Find Your Dream Job is presented by Mac’s List, an online community where you can find free resources for your job search, plus online courses and books that help you advance your career. My latest book is called Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. It’s a reference guide for your career that covers all aspects of the job search, including expert advice in every chapter. You can get the first chapter for free by visiting macslist.org/anywhere.

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard, your host and publisher of Mac’s List. I’m joined by my co-hosts, Leila O’Hara and Jessica Black, from the Mac’s List team.

This week we’re talking about how read between the lines of a job posting.

Many job seekers treat a job posting as a list of facts about the position. That’s a mistake, according to Justin Dux, our guest expert this week. He says a position description often includes subtle clues and red flags that everybody can understand. If you learn to read between the lines, you can become a more competitive candidate and you can avoid ending up in a snake pit. Justin and I talk later in the show.

Record numbers of people today work remotely from home. These employees can live anywhere. One U.S. governor hopes you will bring your remote job to his state. He will give you $10,000 if you do so. Leila tells us more in a moment.

We all want balance in our life. At the end of life, nobody ever wishes they’d spent more time at the office. But what does a good work-life balance look like? That’s our question of the week and it comes from listener Leonard Bryan in West Linn, Oregon. Jessica shares her advice shortly.

As always, let’s first check in with the Mac’s List team. I’m sitting around the studio table with Jessica and Leila.

Leila, you’re up first because you have, as always, spent the last week…I know you do other things besides poking around the Internet.

Leila O’Hara:

That’s true. It’s not my full-time job.

Mac Prichard:

Newsletters and blog posts.

Jessica Black:

It’s a good mix.

Mac Prichard:

It is.

Leila O’Hara:

It’s a good mix yeah, but I get in there, looking.

Mac Prichard:

What have you uncovered this week?

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, this week I found a really interesting article from TheLadders.com. If you’re somebody out there who’s looking for a job where you can work remotely, get paid up to $10,000 in relocation fees, and live in a rural environment, then I think this is an opportunity you might really be interested in.

This week, Vermont governor, Phil Scott, signed a new law that will pay eligible remote workers up to $10,000 to move to Vermont.

Mac Prichard:

That’s ten thousand dollars.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, that’s a lot of money.

If you’re interested, you’ll need to become a full-time Vermont resident on or after January 1, 2019, which is pretty soon. You’ll also need to prove you’re a full-time, remote worker for a company outside of the state. If you can prove those two items, then Vermont will pay for your relocation expenses by giving you up to $5,000 a year for two years.

Jessica Black:

They must be just be looking to grow their population. I know you’re going to tell us more.

Leila O’Hara:

I am, I am right about to tell you. You’re correct.

Mac Prichard:

Jessica’s jumping in.

Leila O’Hara:

You guessed correctly.

Jessica Black:

I know, I just want to know what the catch is.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, there is a catch.

Mac Prichard:

Okay, let’s hear the catch.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, so Vermont is hoping to use this program to boost their economy and grow their population because a lot of their population is aging out of the workforce. They only have 625,000 residents statewide, which means they have a very small tax base and a very high demand for young workers.

It’s also not the first state to try this out which I thought was interesting. There are a couple small towns in Michigan and Ohio that are also offering financial incentives for people who are willing to move to their states, in order to address worker shortages.

Jessica Black:

I like that idea. I think there’s ways to boost tourism in general but having people move there, now that we do have such a remote worker boom, it’s easy to work remotely. You don’t necessarily have to have an office or an in-person work environment there.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, definitely, times have changed a lot. I thought that that was really worth noting, too, and if you’re a job seeker who interested in working remotely, I also found this website called,  https://weworkremotely.com/. They claim they are the largest community of online remote workers. Just from glancing through there, they have a lot of programming, marketing, design, and copywriting jobs for people who don’t want to be tied down to a particular location or if you just don’t want to commute to work, if you want to save money that way. There’s a lot of great options out there for people looking for remote work.

Jessica Black:

Or if you’re just looking for work in those industries, that might be a good place to look.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, it could be a great next opportunity for you.

One reason I found this interesting was because we have the opposite problem here in Portland, in terms of people moving here. With Vermont, there might not be a ton of people moving there, but Portland is growing super fast, super rapidly. We have a huge influx of young, millennial workers moving in. The housing market is booming, more taxpayers are arriving, and you would think that the job market is thriving and we’re doing great, but for employers, I think it’s still really tough.

Jessica Black:

I think it’s interesting you brought that up because it is similar in that sense that there are a lot of remote workers from California and other states that are still employed with their jobs, whatever it is, but they are living in Portland. It’s not exclusively true, but I think it’s a big factor in Portland, as well. Maybe Vermont needs to do a tv show like, Vermontlandia or something like that. Something like Portlandia or something…

Leila O’Hara:

Maybe, something to draw people in, yeah.

Mac Prichard:

I’m not sure that’s what drew people to Portland, but it was probably a factor, Jessica.

Jessica Black:

I think so.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, it’s just interesting because depending on where you live, there’s different problems that job seekers and employers face. Because there’s 4% unemployment here, that makes it really competitive out there for employers looking for job seekers.

As more and more Baby Boomers and the older generations continue to hit retirement age, it’s interesting to think about what cities are going to do to keep up. Will we see more cities take up this strategy that Vermont is using and paying younger workers to move into their state? Or will we see young workers willing to relocate to these rural environments away from the big city? Because states and cities need a growing population of young educated taxpayers and workers to thrive but I just find it interesting and I’m fascinated to see how rural areas will keep up with the rapid growth of cities.

Jessica Black:

I agree with you that it’s really fascinating. I’m glad that you brought this up.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, I think you both know I grew up in Iowa and it’s very common for people after college, for many of them to leave the state. There was a governor in the early 2000’s, who launched a campaign to encourage former Iowa residents to return. His administration would, I think three or four times a year, send newsletters to former residents. I got on the list because I’m a University of Iowa graduate. It didn’t really work, there was no cash incentive, but it was a strategic effort to try to persuade people to return. Coincidentally, I went back for my Harvard-Kennedy school reunion and he was at a reception. I went up and chatted with him and I said, “Hey, I’m a former Iowa resident.” He said, “Why didn’t you come back?” For me personally, the answer was quality of life; it’s just better here in the Pacific Northwest. It’ll be interesting to see if money is enough of a motivator to persuade people to go to Vermont, which is a lovely state.

Jessica Black:

I think that’s an interesting point, Mac, because I do think that money is a good motivator but there has to be a full onslaught of factors that contribute to that. There are some people who really like rural living and are really pursuing that and trying to get out of the larger cities and move to quieter spaces so that they can have that type of life. I think it all goes back to marketing, it drives everything, that you have to reach the right people that are going to be the folks who are going to “fit in” in that environment and that are going to thrive in that environment. Because if you’re talking to urbanites about, “Come to the country and live in the country and we’ll give you five thousand dollars a year,” that’s not going to have any return on investment. But if you’re reaching the right people, who are really craving that quiet life, then I think that would be a good motivator.

Mac Prichard:

Good point.

Well, thank you both and thank you, Leila for bringing those resources to our attention. If you’ve got an idea for Leila, please write her. We would love to share your suggestion on the show. Her address is leila@macslist.org.

Now let’s turn to you, our listeners, and Jessica Black has been adding to the Mac’s List mailbag all week long. I know the emails just keep pouring in.

Jessica Black:

They do. Which is great, I love to hear them and I love to get them. I got a note from someone on LinkedIn the other day. However you want to send me your question, just go ahead.

Mac Prichard:

Terrific, well what’s in the mailbag this week? What question did you pull out?

Jessica Black:

We have a question this week from Leonard Bryan, who is from West Linn, Oregon, one of the suburbs of Portland. He asks:

“A lot of people talk about finding an employer that offers a good work-life balance. How do you all (the “Find Your Dream Job” team) define work-life balance? What is your advice for finding employers who match your definition?”

I think this is a great question because I think work-life balance is on the minds of a lot of people right now, as we’re shifting gears from just finding employers that are going to pay you and have a place to go everyday and every week. People are also looking for other ways that they can find meaning from their job. Sometimes that comes into play in the work-life balance. Talking about remote work having an increase, there are a lot more opportunities for people to want to work remotely or have flexible jobs as parents or however that looks for them. This is a really good question.

I think what makes a “good” work-life balance is going to depend on who you are as a person. It’s going to differ for each person but I do want to share a bit about the Mac’s List team and what we do for work-life balance. These are just a couple of the things that we do.

We have a flexible work schedule in that we work from home on Fridays. We have the typical Mon-Fri, 9-5 or 8-4, however that looks but we do work from home on Fridays. I think that provides a good opportunity for people to have a respite from meetings, or you can work in your pajamas, or work from a coffee shop. Just to have a space where you can feel like you can be out of the office but still doing work and be trusted to get that all done. I think that’s really important.

Along those same lines, we have a flexible and trusting team that accommodates time-off needs. Good sick leave policy and PTO policy that is, “If you need to take time off, just let us know.” It’s not super strict and I think that trusting the team to get stuff done, that everybody is in it together and will cover each other to keep things going well, I think that’s really important.

One of the things that I feel is important is that we encourage a full disconnect when people are on vacation and managers who lead by example on this. For example, Mac takes a vacation a couple of times a year but at least once a year, a long term, three or four week vacation, and disconnects completely. He is not available for work emails, you don’t check your work email while you’re out, that sort of thing. I think that is a really good model for others of us in the office to take the hint. When you’re on vacation, you should be away so you can fully recharge. I think that’s really important.

These are just a couple of things that I wanted to point out. There are definitely other things that go into this, into work-life balance. This is something that is really important to me as well and these are the questions that I asked during my interview process at Mac’s List. Just to be able to understand what that looks like and because it does differ for every person. I asked questions like, “Do people eat lunch at their desks? Is that expected of people?” That goes to the larger model of, “Is this a place where you work all the way through lunch and you’re expected to just be tied to your desk all the time.” The answer was no, which was wonderful because it’s really important to me that there are times that you do get to disconnect you and do get to walk away from your job. You’re not having to answer emails at seven pm, you are discouraged from that, and those types of things.

Long story short, I would say depending on your own needs, so number one, Leonard, I would say to check in with what’s important to you. Write down things that are really important to you. What makes a good work-life balance for you? Start doing some research online, for example, I think that a while ago Ben shared a resource about parents finding employers who offer flexible work schedules for being able to match their children’s school schedule, things like that.

Another way to do this is, for example, I entered “How to find employers with work-life balance” into Google and there were several lists of companies reputed to have excellent work-life balance so that’s a good start. You can comb through and see what comes up for you from that.

Again, the main way I would suggest doing this is just talk to people. Have informational interviews with people that you have in your network already that are working in companies that you would like to work for, that you’re curious about. Reach out and have those types of questions, and I would just again encourage, know what that looks like for you. That way you know what your goals are because one company can have a great “work-life balance”, but that doesn’t match with what your work-life balance is. That’s not going to help you at all if it doesn’t match your needs and your desires.

What else would you guys add?

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, I think that for Leonard to really thrive and figure out what his work-life balance is, I think he needs to look at what are his needs and what are his personal priorities. If he’s the type of person who needs to take a walk at lunch every day to clear his head and refresh, or if he needs a place where he can work remotely, or have a solid baseline of paid time off, those are all things he needs to identify and then find an employer who can give him that level of work-life balance. I thought you made a great point with that, Jessica.

Jessica Black:

Thank you.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, I would only add, when you’re considering employers, ask to look at the employee handbook. Do they provide parental leave? How many holidays? What are the vacation policies? Here at Mac’s List, we close between Christmas and New Year’s with pay.

Jessica Black:

That’s one of my favorite benefits.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, and it took us a number of years to adopt that policy, but as an employer I learned that most people would take that time off; some wouldn’t…they’d still come in. I would tell everyone to go home early, so why not just tell them to go home? They’re much more productive in the end.

Jessica Black:

I was going to say, you have mentioned that everybody comes back much more refreshed. Spending time with families, just having that time off is really important, and most people are not working that time of year anyway, so it’s better to just close it down.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. It’s a great question Leonard, I appreciate you asking it. It’s good advice, Jessica. If you’ve got a question for Jessica, please send her an email. That address is jessica@macslist.org. You can also call our listener line; we’d love to get a recording from you. That’s area-code 716-JOB-TALK, or post your question on the Mac’s List Facebook group.

If we use your question on the show, like Leonard, you’ll get a copy of Land Your Dream Job Anywhere.

We’ll be back in just a moment. When we return, I’ll talk with this week’s guest expert, Justin Dux about how to read between the lines of a job posting.

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Now, let’s get back to this podcast.

Now, let’s turn to this week’s guest expert, Justin Dux.

Justin Dux hosts CareerCloud Radio, a podcast for job seekers that began in 2007. He regularly interviews job hunting experts who offer useful and actionable tips. He is a proud graduate of the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota.

Justin joins us today joins us today from St Paul, Minnesota.

Justin, thanks for being on the show.

Justin Dux:

Thanks for having me.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, I’m excited about this conversation because you’re a fellow podcaster and I’m impressed that your show has been on for more than a decade. That’s quite an accomplishment for you and your predecessors.

Justin Dux:

Thank you. Chris Russell founded the show and it changed ownership last year and I just passed my one year mark of being a host.

Mac Prichard:

That’s terrific.

Well, today we’re talking about job postings. There’s an art to reading these postings, you say, but you find however, that most job seekers just scan a posting quickly before they prepare an application. Justin, why is that a problem?

Justin Dux:

I’m hearing from guests and others that culturally, we’re changing how we consume information. It starts with skimming but the end result is that you actually stop looking entirely. You might read a posting but never click into it, or read a job title and never click into it. A lot of people will complain that, “I’m not seeing any opportunities that match my skill set.” But they’ve ruled out hundreds of opportunities that never came across their face or their computer screens.

Mac Prichard:

How should our listeners read a job posting? What do you recommend? What should they look for?

Justin Dux:

I recommend that they take a step back backwards from the end goal, which is, “I want to find a job to apply to”, and if you work backwards and say, “I need to find out what the market is looking for and I need to understand the patterns that are appearing in these job postings.” You actually have to consume or read a ton more job postings than you think necessary because those patterns don’t start developing, or understanding what they become, for maybe a couple months.

What that looks like for somebody is that they’re monitoring job boards, even while they have a career they’re happy with. Getting alerts from job boards even when they think they’re not looking, maybe like a passive job search stage.

For those of you that are more urgent, obviously you have to put this on steroids and do all of this kind of research everyday but it’s much more manageable if you take a longer view on it. “I’m going to keep my finger on this pulse so I always have the information ready when it’s time to apply.”

Mac Prichard:

What patterns do you recommend people look for when they study job posts? What should jump out at the job seeker? What can they learn from that?

Justin Dux:

This breaks into about three different areas for me.

The one that will seem kind of obvious but I want to dig deeper on, is recognizing things to avoid. There’s two areas there; avoiding things with the responsibilities of the job and avoiding red flags with the employer and what might be happening in that company. I would describe that as avoid the sinking ship. If you’re not happy with the headlines in Uber, or another company that’s hitting headlines, a mining company or something, then maybe you do want to stay away from that if they’re looking for a new head of privacy, or a new head of HR, or something like that.

Now, if you’re the type of person who likes to rescue a sinking ship, then maybe you run towards that burning fire but you never want to be in a company whose revenue is going down or is going down for reasons completely out of your control. When you’re developing a career, you obviously want to step into a situation that you can succeed in.

Mac Prichard:

Is that information you get from a job posting, Justin? Or if you find a position, say an opportunity at Uber, then you do the research and you find out more about the company through other sources?

Justin Dux:

Great point, you would bring in informational interviews with people who work there already if you add that company to your short list. If you’re doing this over the course of a year or two, like I said, you’re probably starting at a time when you’re happy in your career, you have more time to set up those informational interviews. But more importantly, you have more time to develop a short list. Here in the Twin Cities, my list is only about fifteen companies right now that I would now share on my short list. For a lot of people that I talk to, that short list might even be less, a few companies.

But what you do is you start to research that company more heavily. Now you’re reading articles about the company, you’re diving into their shareholders notes, there’s a wealth of information in shareholders meeting minutes, if the company is public because it talks about the goals they’re working on. Anytime it’s worded as a goal, you can also translate that into the problem that they’re trying to solve. Most companies don’t dump millions of dollars in an investment unless they also see that as profit.

Mac Prichard:

Okay, so we talked about red flags and how research can help you identify those, and goals and how they can help you understand the employer’s needs and challenges. What are some other clues that people should look for, Justin, as they review job postings and try to find those patterns?

Justin Dux:

The one that I find fascinating is what I call unusual search terms or unusual keywords. This information I learned from Textio but they really inspired me to change how I was searching. Because I don’t think a lot of people sit down and think to put in a search engine, like Indeed or Ziprecruiter, I’m going to name your favorite right there, but a term like, “dream”. People wouldn’t think to search something like that but Textio research has shown that teachers will find those jobs and apply to those jobs twenty-ones days faster than a school that’s not using that word inside their job posting somewhere.

That’s looking at it from the hiring perspective, but I’m coming at it from the candidate perspective and saying, “Why don’t we search for those things that are that important to us?” That we would apply sooner, or those positions would fill faster? If it’s important to you, you should be searching for it. It might be a little limiting to use something like “vacation time”, but I will say that “unlimited vacation time”, as your key word, might be something worth looking up especially if you’re dealing with two kids or your family or something like that. Some other creative examples might be, “lasting relationships”, if you’re dealing with a sales career or something like that, that would be huge because that shows that an employer is culturally aware that, “We’re not trying to make transactions here, we’re not trying to bring in revenue, we’re actually trying to form lasting relationships with our customers.” They put that wording right into the job posting.

Something like “hungry for”, is a verb and verbs work better for this by the way. “Hungry for”, and then fill in the blank. You’re finding these unusual terms and then using them repeatedly. When I say finding, that means you’re doing what we talk about a moment ago, you’re consuming postings that you never intended to apply to, and that’s part of the gate you have to get past mentally, is that, yes you are clicking into job postings that are just intriguing, or a little less than intriguing, to try and pick up these clues that might be in the form of these unusual key words. You stop reading after you find one and think, “What if I were to put this in as a term and see what that comes up with?”

I did a test on that last night and I found an interesting phrase that I wasn’t using before, “design, build, create”; a posting I found that I had no intention of applying to had used those three words right next to each other. “Design, build, and create”, and they were forming some process in the skill set that I work in. When I punched that in, in about five minutes of clicking on different job titles and postings, I found some really interesting stuff that was not on my radar at all because of my usual terms.

Did that make sense?

Mac Prichard:

It does, and what you’re describing, as I listen to you, Justin, is really a search engine marketing approach to identifying both companies and positions that might not normally appear on someone’s radar. I think most job seekers, don’t you agree, Justin, they think, “I want to work at this company”, or “I want to find a position with this job title.” What I’m hearing you say is, you can do that, but you won’t see opportunities that might be even more interesting.

Justin Dux:

Even more interesting and even more of a match to your skills. For the last year and a half, I’ve been developing skills in salesforce and so I think that that is going to show up in the job title itself. It’s just natural to make that assumption. The techniques that I’m describing here are meant to break those habits. The end result was, last night I find a position last night that’s titled, “Technology enablement specialist”, which I would never have searched for, but I found what I would describe as a perfect match for my background. It describes supporting sales reps because I did ten years in sales, and working with their sales force processes that enable their sales team.

The last thing that made me really intrigued about this one is a point that I really want to make for your listeners and that is that the more you do this type of reading, this deep reading, or to use your term, search engine marketing reverse engineering of job postings, the more you develop that as a skill, you’ll start to be able to sense an opportunity that’s bigger than been described on the page. Technology enablement specialist, I shared it with some people that are close to me, and they’re like, “It seems kind of low-level for you, doesn’t it?” I was like, “Not really. I’m just starting my career, it’s not like I’ve been at this ten years or something like that. I’ve got a foundation to build, just like anyone else.” I think that’s the key, all the clues accumulate to mean something more. It’s an intuition that’s really hard to describe I’m realizing, but you won’t know it unless you consume hundreds, close to a thousand, job postings in your industry to be able to recognize those patterns.

Mac Prichard:

What are your best tips, Justin, about identifying those keywords that you should search for? How can listeners build a list like that? What do you recommend?

Justin Dux:

It really comes down to consuming them, but it’s about, as you read, how does it make you feel? Take for example, we were talking earlier about things to avoid, if you read the word “strict” in a job posting, and your senses kind of tingle, you’re reading but your mouth starts to cringe, that kind of thing, that’s a sign. You should probably pick that up as a clue and write down that word as, “I’m probably not going to work well in a culture that’s describing a strict work culture.”

Another thing that comes to mind is there’s some marketers that are more on the creative side. If they’re seeing words in a job posting like “detail oriented”, and that makes them panic a little bit, that’s another clue. You might not want to prioritize this job as high as another one you might have found that week. Now keep in mind, sometimes you only find one opportunity a week and you probably should still apply to some of these, but I’m trying to work in an area of abundance, where there’s more opportunities than people realize and you have to pick the first three to apply to because you have a limited amount of time this week.

That’s on the avoidance side. On the more positive side, you want to be able to recognize a culture that you’ll be able to love. These are going to be harder because they stand out in different ways. Going back to that research from Textio, they’ve used algorithms to search across millions of job postings and then correlate that with data about how fast the positions were taken down or filled and to their surprise, they learned that some things are popular in one city that are completely hated in another city. I think an example they used was “intense”; it’s a word found in postings somewhere, “an intense culture”, “an intense sales environment”, or, “high pressure environment”, and the word intense was received really well in San Francisco. That attracted candidates to apply to it; those are opportunities that you and I might missing out on because they’ve already filled them. You go over to Philadelphia, and a position that’s mentioning the word intense is lagging out there and staying unfilled because most people in Philadelphia don’t want to work in an intense environment, or there’s stigma around it.

You want to recognize what those are for you. If you know a culture that you thrive in, figure out the language you would use to describe that, and search for it.

Mac Prichard:

Okay and pay attention to your intuitive reactions, both positive and negative, and record those words and then make them part of your search strategy.

Justin Dux:

Right, and I think one of my guests said this best; he said, “People, a lot of young people especially, have kind of developed this idea that finding a job and searching for one online is a science and that it’s like a machine”. I’m not quoting him very well but you get the point. I’m trying to bring that arts side back into it, which means you do have to allow yourself to feel about these positions, but be objective while you’re doing it, and say, “Well yeah, it says detail-oriented and it makes me cringe, but it doesn’t change the fact that I really love accuracy.” You might still have the attribute of detail-oriented because you hate inaccuracy. Does that make sense?

Mac Prichard:

It does. These are terrific tips Justin and I’ve enjoyed the conversation. Tell us what’s next for you?

Justin Dux:

I’m continuing to work on CareerCloud Radio. It’s the podcast that I took over as host for last May. We’ve got ten episodes already recorded and I’m furiously working on editing and getting out there. It’s my hope that listeners find more insight from those.

Mac Prichard:

I know you have a deep archive ofepisodes that stretches back to 2007 so there’s a lot of good content there. People, I know, can find it at CareerCloud.com. Justin, thanks for being on the show today.

Justin Dux:

Thanks for having me.

Mac Prichard:

Take care.

We’re back in the studio with Leila and Jessica. What are your thoughts about my conversation with Justin?

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, I thought that was really a interesting conversation, Mac. One thing that I hadn’t really considered before hearing this conversation was just reading the job listings really carefully and looking for clues. Whether it’s clues about the company culture, or clues about what they’re looking for in a candidate, those are all things that can tell you, “This is the right fit for me. This is where I really want to apply”, or, “Maybe this isn’t the right job.” I think a lot of candidates, myself included, will just apply to a bunch of different job listings, because if I was looking for a marketing coordinator position, I would just apply to a bunch of jobs with that job title. But if you take a lot closer look at the description, you might see that it is a marketing coordinator position but maybe they’re doing sales or maybe there’s other stuff included within that job that’s thrown in there as a little tiny bullet or an asterisk in the description but if you read it really closely, you can figure out, “Oh, this isn’t for me. I shouldn’t be applying here.”

Jessica Black:

I agree with you. I really do think that you can learn a lot about the way that the organization talks about what they do or the language that they use. I like how Justin mentioned that, of if they use a word like strict or whatever that is, I like how you can discern some things from the language they use. Also taking a look at their websites and doing some research about the organization, in addition to just reading the job description, because you can also learn some things and find some either positive things or red flags by just looking at the website or looking at news article or things like that. As you learn more about the organization, you’ll either learn if it’s a good fit or maybe it’s not the right fit.

What I really loved about that conversation was his suggestion about doing the reverse search of entering verbs or phrases into a search field. We’ve talked about Textio before, we’ve used that as a resource before so I like that he brought that back up. But using that to help you be able to expand upon the job postings that you’re finding and coming across, rather than just the job title. Sometimes organizations do have creative job titles or you don’t always know.

For me, Leila, you were searching for marketing coordinator positions, but for me, I did a lot of that, poring through postings just to see. Reading job descriptions just to get a better understanding of what that job looked like related to the title because I was still trying to figure out what that looked like. I knew the type of work that I wanted to do, but I didn’t know the title name. You don’t always have time to pour through thousands of job postings just to…It’s so much content and so much out there but if you have that opportunity, please do so. Otherwise, if you have the ability to enter those search terms into something…I just liked that he provided that as a resource for finding other postings that you may not find through other searches that you may do.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, I liked his advice a lot, because I think there are two challenges here. One is, and you touched on this, Jessica, there’s an abundance of choices. It’s never been easier to find job postings, whatever your occupation. How do you sort through all this information? How do you sift through this data? Justin is offering a strategy which is, “Okay, think about the keywords that you have a positive reaction to or a negative.” It is search engine marketing 101 applied to the job search, and I think it helps a lot.

Jessica Black:

Yeah.

Mac Prichard:

I think the second challenge people have is, not only sussing through and getting the number of postings down to a manageable figure that you can apply to, but it’s also being able to read the subtleties of the postings to figure out which ones might be most appealing and which ones, as he said, might have some red flags. That will further help you reduce the number of applications that you might send out, which is important because our time is our most valuable asset. If there are, as you say, Leila, lots and lots of marketing coordinator jobs you can apply to, you can’t apply to them all.

Jessica Black:

They’re not all going to be the right fit either. Even if it’s the right title for you, you still have to find the organizational fit at the same time.

Leila O’Hara:

Definitely.

Mac Prichard:

How do you make the smartest most strategic choices, and then of course, job postings matter; we’ve got a job board at Mac’s List, we’re very proud of it, but we’ve talked a lot about how you have to free up your time. You can’t spend all your time looking for online jobs.

Jessica Black:

Absolutely.

Mac Prichard:

You’ve got to make wise choices and I think Justin has offered a strategy for how to do that.

Leila O’Hara:

Yeah, he did.

Jessica Black:

It was a good way to disseminate some of that, as you said Mac, abundance of what’s out there. To be able to sift through it. It was really interesting.

Mac Prichard:

Good, well thank you both for those comments, and thank you, Justin for joining us this week, and thank you, our listeners, for downloading today’s episode of Find Your Dream Job.

If you’re looking for more great career-focused shows like ours, make sure you check out the 2018 edition of our Top Careers Podcast Guide. You’ll discover 78 programs that can help you get hired. You can get your free copy of the Top Careers Podcast Guide today. Just go to topcareerpodcasts.com.

Join us next Wednesday when our special guest will be Taranum Khan. She’ll explain how to make your resume attractive to recruiters.

Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job!

You might think that every job posting is a list of facts about the position. But taking a cursory read of the job posting is a mistake, according to career expert Justin Dux. On this episode of the Find Your Dream Job podcast, we learn why you need to carefully read between the lines of a job description to understand the employer’s needs and stand out from a crowded applicant field.

About Our Guest: Justin Dux

Justin Dux hosts CareerCloud Radio, a podcast for job seekers that began in 2007. He regularly interviews job hunting experts who offer useful and actionable tips. And he is a proud graduate of the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota.

Resources in this Episode: