Employers want to get lots of potential applicants to read their advertisement. They will be positive about the company and the role, in order to encourage you to read more!


Adverts are unlikely to contain all the information you will want or need to help you decide whether you want to apply - for more details you will need to review a Job Description, where duties are described in more detail


When reading job adverts, you will often come across phrases that may need explanation. Here  are a few of the most common ones:

About you – This is the bit where they describe the type of person they are looking for. It may include skills, experience and/or personality traits. The more their description sounds like you, then the more likely they want people like you to apply.

Essential – If a skill, experience or qualification is listed as essential and you don’t have it, think hard about whether you should apply, as your chances of success are low.

Desirable / Optional /Preferred – If a skill, experience or qualification is listed as desirable, optional, or is preferred, this means that people with those skills are more likely to get the job, but it is still worth applying. You may still be the best person for the job even without them.

Competitive salary – The amount you would be paid is similar to similar roles in other organisations. It might mean they haven’t decided what the salary will be. It might depend on your skills and experience. Find out what other similar roles are paying by doing an online search for a salary checker. 

DBS Check – A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is a certificate you apply for to show that you do not have a criminal record. You will need an enhanced DBS check for some roles working in health care, with children or with vulnerable adults. If you need a DBS Check for the job (but don’t currently have one), your employer will handle the application for you, and your job may depend on having it.

Fixed Term – The job is only for a limited period of time. This is usually the term of your contract.

OTE (On Target Earnings) – For many sales jobs, there is a basic salary which is topped up with the commission you earned, based on how much you sell. There is no guarantee you will get the higher figure. If you are not comfortable and fluent in speaking and selling face to face, avoid these types of jobs. For example, it might say £20,000 salary £40,000 OTE.

Pro-rata – For part time jobs, this is where the salary you see (which is usually the Full-time equivalent) will be divided in proportion to the number of hours you work. For example, a £37,000 job, which is part time over 21 hours (if their standard work week is 37 hours) would pay you £21,000 a year pro-rata. Your annual leave (holiday leave) is worked out the same way.

Proven Track Record – They are looking for someone who has done a very similar job before (or has the same skills in a different sector or environment). For example, if you have managed complex IT database projects and the job is in app development, that might not matter as much as the project management skills you have.


Adverts may also have a description of the type of person they are looking for


The following are some of the words that may be used to describe the attributes or skills they want an applicant to have:

Dynamic – You are energetic and creative, energetic and ambitious for the company and yourself.

Attention to detail – They will be looking for good accuracy, and evidence that are good at spotting mistakes, so be sure to proof-read your CV and covering letter very carefully.

Self-Starter / Driven / Proactive - You will decide what you need to do to get the job done and manage your own workload. The organisation will expect you to get on with the work and keep yourself motivated.

Team Player – You will be working a lot with other people, sharing ideas and helping out. This might suit some very sociable autistic people, others would need to balance social time with alone time.

Read through the whole advert once and then if it helps you, consider completing our Job Advert Analysis to help you think about the requirements of the job and whether you want to apply for it.