Help wanted ads come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The content might be all blind marketing-speak, intended to attract breathing applicants who then can be sold on the job once they reply. Other ads are more specific and clearly spell out the name of the company doing the hiring and the qualifications required for the position. Still others hint at the job requirements or expect applicants to understand industry lingo to make the cut.
“$1,000 signing bonus,” “Unlimited potential for motivated salespeople,” “Get in on the ground floor of a one-of-a-kind opportunity.” Ads that shout at readers and give very little specific information about the actual work or the kind of service or product being touted fill newspapers, online ad sites, radio programs and magazines. Job hunters don’t know what’s behind that ad curtain until they call the number or answer an email. Very often, interested workers are requested to send money to find out about the job – a red flag that the opportunity could be a scam.
Online classified ad sites and newspapers often clump help wanted ads into categories. Job hunters merely click on the category they’re interested in and are shown a plethora of options. Readers must sift through the jobs that may or may not meet their needs as far as location, salary and job requirements go. To see the latest ads, however, job hunters often must sign up for an account with the service, leaving them vulnerable to spam attacks. Most online job hunting sources that clump jobs in categories are free though.
Industry-specific help wanted ads are created with thoughtfulness and clear directions. Applicants are told not only what credentials and experience are required for the position, they also are given exact instructions on how to respond to the ad. Ads for a specific job usually are paid ads, often paid for by the word. While industry-specific ads may be placed in free online sites, they often are located in industry magazines and placed through professional groups and associations. When using professional associations, ads often are required to be formatted in a specific manner so applicants easily can see the parameters of each job and compare opportunities.
Help wanted ads are notorious for using jargon and hidden meanings in their ads. Often for example, when an employer is a looking for someone who is “detail-oriented,” it means the boss will be watching every move the employee makes. When an ad requires candidates are “mature,” that often signals the employer is looking for older, experienced employees. “Self-starter” may signal the fact that the worker will have little supervision or has to build up a clientele of her own. Buzzwords like “team player,” “results-oriented” and “multi-tasker,’ often betray the employer's need for someone who gets moved around a lot or has to take what duties are dished out on any given day. Alternatively, when advertisers use jargon and buzzwords, they may not be clear about what kind of employee they need or what expectations they have of their workforce.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."