How to know what you're applying for

08 May 11:00 by Adam Pyle


There is enough to worry about with job hunting: searching for the right role, identifying the right company, updating your CV to match the criteria and, probably the main factor, the stress of paying bills and remaining organised around a full-time schedule of recruiters and research.

Of course, when breaking into marketing, the questions are more complex. With there being nearly a million sales and marketing professionals in the UK as of last year, as a first time candidate you are swamped with choice; the success of the profession can make it daunting for those with only the vague idea of marketing as a career. As ever, it is obvious to state that you should research and consider the areas of marketing you want to break in to.

However, that’s easier said than done. Simply reading a job advert correctly will certainly help, as research suggests it’s a lost skill that could save you a lot of time. This is particularly true of looking through marketing applications, with one in five potential applicants being put off from applying if the job description is unclear. A clear advert will contain enough information for you to make a sound judgement before application.

As the language of a job advertisement can be alien to most first-time jobseekers, or graduates seeking a career after studying, in the rush to find employment, it is tempting to skim read a few descriptions whilst applying for many jobs at once. And yet, job adverts have a code of practice to follow too, and a good one will contain crucial information on what the job entails, the company culture and, ultimately, whether it is right choice for you.

Remember the rules

Before you start, remember that job ads must abide by the rules of the CAP Code. This can be summarised across two categories; firstly, they must make sure that clear material information is included in the advert, with information on salary, location, working hours and whether the role is permanent or temporary. Secondly, they must be as “evidence ready” as all other works; if they mention a specific salary range, the candidate must be able to achieve that and, if it is advertised as a job then it must be a job, not an opportunity to invite you for training or an excuse to collect your data.

Remember, advertisements for employment are adverts, and subject to the same rules as the wider industry. Should you encounter any wrongdoing, remember that the industry is on your side; the Advertising Standards Agency have ruled against Cerco IT Training and Recruitment for advertising a job where immediate employment was not available.

The advert itself

So, now you know the rules that advertising must follow, the next step is looking into the format of the advert. Most adverts will follow the same format and even in those small subsections, you can find information that will help your search:

Job Title - Keep in mind that similar titles can mean different things in different industries. In marketing, the same title can mean different responsibilities, dependant on the sector and speciality.

Qualifications – It may list academic requirements; it may state soft skills such as ‘good with people’ but it’s important you have the majority and are able to display them. It should also give you an indication of the gaps that you need to fill in your experience to beef up your CV.

Responsibilities - Would you enjoy the tasks listed? Does it challenge you sufficiently? Is there scope to progress? Once again, if you don’t understand the responsibilities, then seek to clarify them; if they don’t seem like tasks you’d enjoy doing, then it’s one to avoid.

By just a thorough read of the advert, you have knowledge of the requirements of the job and whether it, on paper, is right for you. But it’s important to keep reading this information at every stage of the process; before you apply, before an interview and before you accept any offer.

Reading between the lines

Adverts are littered with descriptions that we take for granted, but a second look could potentially reveal much about the chosen position and whether it fits your profile.

Any advert requesting ‘teamwork’ as a skill, particularly in a marketing context, means the role will require a lot of cross departmental communication. Now, that’s a given in marketing, but if your skills veer towards marketing analysis and you prefer analysing the data rather than communicating, consider that this role might not suit you.

Similarly, if they ask for ‘adaptability’, then the company may well be a fast-paced, flexible company that will require that of its employees. Does such an atmosphere suit you on a day-to-day basis?

On the flip side, companies can use ‘marketing’ as a catch-all term. There should be no casual information in a job advert, it should all make sense. If a company advertises for a ‘marketing assistant’, but it doesn’t have a clear idea of what marketing is, then it’s often too good to be true. Entry level marketing scams are still prevalent in the industry, so being clear about the type of industry and marketing you wish to pursue will draw you to the appropriate job adverts and avoid these scams.

If you wish to apply and find time for an interview, then these can provide the basis for the questions you ask your potential employers; knowing the job description means the interview can become a two way process between the company and yourself. This is a chance to find out what you need to in order to see if the company is right for you. Remember, at this stage, you are interviewing them too.

Ultimately, the job advert provides the touchstone for you across your journey to employment. It can start as a means of finding out what you want to pursue, it can guide you when you come to write your CV, even provide you with knowledge of the gaps in your study, and it can focus you when you have an interview on finding out what you need to know in order to enter the profession successfully.

Kick start your marketing career and find your next role with CIM Marketing Jobs, currently hosting over 400 marketing roles.