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What's in a Job

When you are applying positions, do you know what's in a job? These days people use language in ways that can confuse as much as it enlightens - for example, rubbish men called sanitation engineers - making it hard to know sometimes what's in a job.

If you are looking through job listings or on websites, how can you tell what's in a job if you aren't certain just from the title? Titles are often used to make positions sound more important, to attract applicants, and also make people doing the job feel better about themselves.

So to find out what's in a job, you have to do a bit of digging around. First and foremost you can look at the job description. Again, these are often written in jargon, but reading between the lines should give you some clues as to what it's all about.

If this still leaves you a little unclear, you can check out the job description of other jobs with the same - or at least similar - titles. Combining information from several job descriptions should give you a better idea of what lies behind the jargon.

There are other ways of gleaning information about what a job is really all about - pay is often a good indicator. Taking the example of sanitation engineer, this is a title that is sometimes used to mean rubbish men, sometimes used to mean sanitary engineers trained in public health. How can you tell which is which? If the job pays ?10 an hour, you will probably be emptying rubbish bins, but if it pays ?80,000 per year, you can expect to be working on complex mechanical wastewater treatment plants as an engineer!

Another great way to find out more about a job is to talk to people who are already doing it. There's nothing like the information you can get from someone who is actually doing the work.

Ultimately you have to be smart about any job you are applying for. Get as much information as you can before you apply, so you have an understanding of what the position entails, and if you are invited for an interview, use that as the opportunity to learn more. Asking intelligent questions about the exact nature of the job shows that you are thinking, interested, and will make a good impression.