Using real job adverts to spark career ideas
28th August 2019
See how taking a closer look at current job adverts can boost your understanding of jobs and career options.
Already have a few thoughts about the type of work that interest you? Want to find out more? Looking at real job vacancies is a great way to bring your ideas to life.
You probably won’t yet have the right skills and experience for many of the roles that appeal to you. Don’t worry. The idea isn’t to apply for any jobs now but to help you find out more about future career possibilities.
How can looking at job adverts help my career planning?
Looking at job adverts can help you discover more about:
- Possible jobs – you may find jobs you’ve never thought about before, or didn’t know existed
- The skills, experience and qualifications employers want – can you see any patterns in the jobs which appeal to you? What common skills do employers look for?
- Job jargon – lots of jobs and industries have their own way of talking – look out for common words or phrases and find out what they mean
- The recruitment process – how are candidates asked to apply? What steps do they need to follow?
- Salaries and other benefits – what is the salary range for similar-sounding jobs? What other perks – such as generous holidays – are offered? Which are important to you?
What to bear in mind
The job market is always changing. For example, just because you see lots of vacancies for accountants in Manchester now, it doesn’t mean you will see the same demand in five years’ time. And different types of work have their own highs, lows and recruitment cycles, so there may be no vacancies in July but loads in January.
Looking at job adverts can give you a snapshot of career options. Many jobs are not advertised. Some jobs are only advertised in specialist places. And there will be jobs in the future which don’t yet exist.
Take what you see as a rough guide, rather than the complete picture.
Where to find job adverts
There are plenty of places you can see real vacancy information. Here on icould, our career video pages all have a current vacancies box which lists opportunities from the jobs site Indeed. You can also try:
- Other jobs sites such as Reed or Monster
- Recruitment agency websites (try searching ‘recruitment agency’ plus the name of your nearest town or city)
- National newspaper websites such as The Guardian and The Telegraph
- Local newspaper websites
- Find a job (government website)
- Trade publications – visit a large newsagent or library to see examples (or see this selection of available titles)
- Professional bodies and associations
- Websites of particular companies or organisations (vacancies are often listed in the ‘About us’ section)
- Professional networking site LinkedIn