Applying for graduate jobs – How to Decode that Job Ad

Emily Murray Candidate Hub


So, you’ve reached the end university and now it’s time for the job search.

Yet, even the first steps on the road to getting a job can be daunting. The buzzwords and jargon used in job adverts mean that even the most qualified graduates may find the recruitment world bewildering.

Here’s our comprehensive guide to what these job adverts actually mean and how to conquer the jargon…

  1. Team Player

Most jobs will require some sort of team work rather than working in complete isolation.  Employers are not only looking for someone who can get on with their colleagues but someone who can fit into the company culture. To be a good team player you need to prove that you can work collaboratively on tasks that may not be part of your job role to help the team reach its goal.

How can I show this?

Use examples of when you’ve worked as part of a team. For instance, think about projects where you worked with other students or temporary jobs you may have held where you had to work as part of a team.

If you have been involved in team sports at university use your experiences here as an example.  This is a great time to demonstrate your extra-curricular interests as well as your academic/professional achievements, showing that you are a well-rounded individual.

  1. Excellent communication skills

Employers will always want a candidate who can write accurately and speak clearly. As a graduate you will have this covered. However many employers will also use this phrase as a way of saying that you will need to have good social skills too, i.e. the ability to confidently communicate with colleagues, customers and whoever else you may be required to deal with.

How can I show this?

Give examples of how you’ve undertaken public speaking, given presentations or participated in group discussions/debates.  This would be a good time to use an example of when you have used your communication skills productively i.e. to persuade someone or a group of people to do something worthwhile.

  1. Dynamic and motivated

Employers use the term ‘dynamic’ to describe confident, quick thinkers who are motivated by their work and are efficient enough to take on new tasks, generate ideas and find solutions to problems.

These phrases are all about enthusiasm, you will need to show that you are ambitious for yourself and the company.

How can I show this?

Think about times, during your studies or work experience, when you’ve been particularly innovative, had a great idea or pushed something through to its conclusion with vigor and energy. Circumstances that may demonstrate this best are times when you have been up against it and have conquered the challenges to provide a successful solution.

  1. Fast paced and challenging environment

This means that the company works quickly and possibly erratically with demanding deadlines. You will be asked to pick up things quickly, juggle tasks and meet deadlines efficiently.

How can I show I will be able to cope?

Highlight times when, in a past job or during your studies, you’ve had to adapt to changing situations – explain how you were able to make the best of the experience. Your coursework during university will provide a great experience to draw on when talking about hitting tight deadlines.

  1. ‘Forward-thinking’

Here, the employer is looking for someone who has a positive, ambitious approach to their work.  They may also want someone who looks for ways to improve on, refine or analyse a task once it is finished.

How can I demonstrate I have this skill?

Your studies may provide good examples of when you have been forward thinking. Use a time when you have felt particularly challenged, for example, you may have been bogged down during your dissertation, despite this you remained focused on your end goal and how the hard work will pay dividends further down the line.

You may also want to refer to a time when you have finished a task but have then taken the time to think about your next steps and how you could improve on it in the future.

  1. Competitive salary

Sometimes, you’ll see this instead of a salary on a job advert. It means that you should be paid a similar amount to what other employers are offering for the same job. You should research what pay is on offer elsewhere so that you know what to expect.

Next steps

When you have worked out what the job advert is asking for, you can tailor your CV accordingly and prepare valuable examples of how you have used these skills in a practical setting. Really drilling down into what the employer actually wants, along with the right qualifications, will significantly increase your chances of reaching the interview stage.

Check out www.morson.com for the latest graduate job opportunities

For help with your CV check out our handy CV Tips

For help with the interview check out our interview guide https://www.morson.com/contractor-services/interview-guide/