(Original post from Career Contessa ):

“You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve spoken to people who started a new job only to find it was the opposite of what they wanted or expected.” 

So started our conversation with Jane Scudder, one of Career Contessa’s mentors, about a concerning pattern she’s noticed with job seekers. “They’ll say, ‘I thought it was going to be one way, but it turned out to be the complete opposite,'” she continued, “But when I ask them about the original job listing, it turns out they didn’t actually read it the way they should have.” 

Apparently, there’s a right way to read a job posting but also a wrong way—and most of us do it wrong. Who knew? Jane, actually. That’s why we asked her to write us an exclusive guide on reading between the lines of every job listing out there. You can download it for free below, but we also pulled a few tips from inside to help get you started:

1. don’t let excitement get in the way 

Maybe you’ve experienced this: you get through the company and job description, and you’re already excited—this is a company you’ve admired for years or one that sounds absolutely ideal. You read the first two bullet points of the job posting and think, “Sure, that’s easy,” or “That’s something I’ve technically been doing for years,” then end up convincing yourself before finishing reading that this job is perfect for you.

Don’t do that. That’s what leads someone to start a job only to find out that it’s 80% administrative work when they thought it was going to be 100% creative. Read the whole posting slowly and critically. It may feel painfully slow, but maybe it should be. 

2. Look for Clues in the Company’s Values 

Company descriptions don’t always explicitly reference “Our core values…,” but when they do spell them out, take extra notice. Also, if a description makes reference to certain people, such as the CEO, you’ll want to research them thoroughly before sending in your cover letter. 

3. Pay Attention to Keywords and Repeat Phrases 

Your application materials should parallel the language used in the role description. When it makes sense, use the same words and phrases—but don’t overdo it! The hiring manager shouldn’t think to herself, “Hmm, where have I heard that before?” Instead, your objective is to frame your work so that she thinks, “Wow, it’s a little uncanny just how perfect of a fit this woman is!” 

…And There’s a Ton More

Download Jane’s resource for real examples of job listings from real companies (Bumble, Pluralsight…), major insider knowledge, and even more tricks. It’s a goldmine. 

Read original post at Career Contessa.