•After reading the print advert, go online to find out more about the company. The company website can help you get a larger picture; for instance, are there any career growth plans or incentives for employees, etc.?
•When an advert asks for a graduate in computer science in a sales position, it means a sales job. But when it asks for an MBA too, it means that the job can have shades of business development. A sales job is the last link in the chain of business development, while the latter is the first link which identifies opportunities and does research. By asking for both graduates and MBAs, and also stating an age limit, the advert aims to restrict the kind of people who can apply.
—B.S. Murthy, CEO, Leadership Capital, Bangalore
•Usually when a location with a sales job is mentioned, sales experience in that market may be preferred by the company. Candidates who may currently be living in another state/city but have experience in that market, should highlight that while applying.
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•Candidates should focus on sentences such as “Understanding of the software sales environment and capabilities of identifying and creating prospective clients”; highlight in bold your exposure to software sales as well as any proven capabilities in creating clients.
•“Commitment and dedication” could imply that job hoppers may not be shortlisted.
•Usually, companies are flexible in terms of years of experience by 10-20% if the experience is relevant to their industry.
•“Excellent written skills” usually implies that the job requires a candidate to have the capability to write proposals. Remember, sales associates have to prepare many proposals.
•A candidate should always mention his/her current total cost to company (CTC) break-up (fixed + variable + bonus + perks) while applying for a job. Preferably, candidates should not mention their salary expectation, and leave it to the company to make the offer instead. They then have the right to accept/reject or renegotiate the offer.
—Harveen Singh Bedi, senior vice-president, Quadrangle Management Search, New Delhi
•This advertisement is for a person who is already employed, not for fresh MBA graduates. The MBA qualification is mentioned so that the company can attract candidates with that degree too.
•CTC is asked for in the advertisement to eliminate applicants at this stage itself. The company does not want to conduct interviews and then find out that a candidate is not affordable for the company.
—Kris Lakshmikanth, founder and CEO, Head Hunters India Pvt Ltd, Bangalore
•There is a mismatch in this advert between the title of the job and the brief description of the work profile. The title should have said healthcare specialist instead of health assistant. A job title is of paramount importance and it should be specific as people identify themselves with titles.
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• The advert is ruling out many candidates because it limits work experience to a maximum of five years.
• By asking for anyone from a fresher to an experienced person to apply, the advert is likely to get people with very little experience or those who are paid less.
•The applicant should add a covering letter addressing the fact that he/she fits the role and can execute it well; also attach a well-taken recent photo to score extra on the “pleasing personality” requirement. Not many candidates make such an effort.
•When the advert says “pleasing personality”, it means cheerful disposition, which is needed in such a job. When it says zero experience, it means the company wants freshers who are willing to be trained. The range of experience (up to five years) indicates that both types of candidates are needed—the experienced ones to work independently and head a team, and the new ones to learn on the job.
•To stand out from the bevy of responses, a fresher should highlight academic performance and extra-curricular activities (such as captain of the cricket team; shows leadership qualities). An experienced hand should highlight work experience in the relevant field which matches this advert. Attach appreciation letters from former bosses or clients, and mention this in the covering letter; if the job seeker is from another city, it should be said that he/she is keen to relocate.
• There is scope for ambiguity in these kinds of advertisements. Read it with a bit of caution; it is designed to invite the maximum number of responses. Most probably the company has multiple openings at different levels.
•When a qualification in pharmacy is a must and both B.Pharm and M.Pharm candidates can apply, it means that there could be a differentiation in salary depending on experience.
•The ability to work interdependently signifies that the person should essentially have the ability to work as a team player. “Assertive and a self-starter” signifies that the individual needs to be proactive.
•“Flexible timings” indicates that the job has no fixed hours and the candidate should be prepared to be assigned to any work shift of 8 hours.
•Depending on the number of openings, someone with proactive, people skills, multitasking abilities and good communication skills stands a better chance than a fresher or an experienced person.
•A postgraduate with relevant experience and skills could be the one to qualify for the highest salary figure mentioned in the advert. A fresher with no experience can expect the lowest salary.
•While the advert indicates the job applicant will get accommodation, check if the company will deduct a partial amount from the final salary offer on account of this.
—Pradeep Kumar, vice-president, Quadrangle Management Search, New Delhi
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