Analyzing Job Ads


The first step to any successful job search is to figure out what the employer is looking for. This can be harder than it seems because most job ads only half tell you—the truth is that many employers don't know what they are looking for until they see it or don't know how to express it even if they know what it is (or worse, they use a bunch of empty business jargon).

You must read between the lines to discover what your potential employers are looking for. This assignment has you practice this skill by completing the following steps.

Step 1: Find a Job Ad

Find a job ad such as you might use for the Unit 2 Project.

Step 2: Official Stuff

Examine the job ad and make a list of the official stuff an applicant might need. This can include:

For each thing, note to what degree you expect it is negotiable. For example, a job ad may request "a degree in communications and 2 years of work experience," but pretty much all job ads say something like that. It's probably fine to have a similar degree—English, journalism, etc.—and some relative experience in the form of coursework, projects, internships, or even just office work. On the other hand, if a job requires a license or certification, then there might not be any way around that (though it doesn't hurt to say you'd be willing to get such things as soon as possible if hired).

Step 3: Hard Skills

Make a list of the hard skills an applicant is expected to have. This can include:

Again, note if any of the hard skills requested seem negotiable at all or whether you could acquire them after getting the job.

Step 4: Soft Skills

Make a list of the soft skills that would make an applicant compelling. Here's where you might have to start reading between the lines a bit. It might help to ask yourself what kind of person they are hoping to work with. Here is a partial list of some in-demand soft skills:


Critical Thinking



Work Ethic

Step 5: Three More Things

Lastly, do these three things:

Turn It In

Compile your results into a single document. It should be uploaded to Canvas by classtime on the day listed on the schedule.