Succeed in the workplace
Succeed in the workplace

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

1.1 Picking out the details from a job advert

Many employers will supply a job description and a person specification. The job description tells you about the job and the person specification what abilities, qualities and qualifications are required. Job adverts will usually be based on these two documents and present the most important aspects of them.

The job advertisement you’ve already looked at has both these elements, so provides good practice in analysing what is expected of you.

This activity helps you to ‘spot’ useful information in an advert and to interpret what it asks of you.

Activity 1 The NHS advert: what does it tell you?

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Read back through the NHS advert. Note in the box below, what descriptions of the work you find, and then what descriptions of the person specification it contains. You don’t need to do this in your notebook, unless you would like a record of the activity.

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


How easy did you find it? Some ‘reading between’ the lines was probably necessary. Look at the answer below and compare it with your own.

Description of work

  • the potential to manage physical and human resources in the pursuit of achieving the Board's Organisational Goals – though you don’t know the goals you can deduce that you would be managing either people or things required for health care.

Person specification

  • relevant degree – you need a degree but you need find out which ones are relevant. Able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing and posses good interpersonal statistical and analytical skills – these are clear skills that you would need to show you had.

Description of work

  • ‘hands-on’ management training – this implies ‘doing’ some management rather than just learning the theory.

Person specification

  • application of sound business techniques in the delivery of Health Care – it doesn’t say which techniques, but it suggests thinking of health care as a business. Supplies Management – this is a specific area of activity and expertise that could be developed.

Description of work

  • demonstrate the potential to manage physical and human resources – the key word is ‘potential’ here. You need to provide of an ability of manage people, whatever the context.

Person specification

  • the capacity and ability to make a success of the training – here you are being asked to demonstrate that you can learn and put this into practice.

The next section will provide you with nine key areas to look for in any job advert.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371