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How to decode a job advert

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Job adverts can sometimes seem like they’re written in a different language, so let us help you tell what’s what …

You’ve found the job that you want to apply for but feel like you’ve fallen at the first hurdle. Job applications are actually very formulaic, and if you have the key you can understand this and any job advert to come your way …

“Job title”

This is the name of the job that you are applying for. It might be ‘staff nurse’ or ‘community nurse’, this gives you an idea of the responsibilities of the job that is being described.

NT animated jobs gif

“Posted date”

This is the date that the job vacancy was first posted on the site or magazine that you found it in. Some jobs can be reposted a couple of times as they continue to search for someone that they want for the job, so don’t be put off if the posted date feels like a long time ago.

“Salary depending on experience”

Some jobs do not post the salary for a job in their advert as it will changed depending on who they accept for the position. This means that they don’t have a particular level of experience in mind


Some jobs will want to employ you ‘permanently’, in other words – for as long as you wish to work there, while other jobs want to employ you on a ‘contract’ for a specified amount of time. If this is a contract job that you’re applying for feel free 


This is the name of the trust or practice that you would actually be working for and will be interviewed by. It’s a good idea to research whether this is a suitable location for you and how you could make this work.


Not all jobs are advertised directly by the practice or trust themselves. Some employers will ask recruitment agencies to post the job vacancies for them, so the name of the recruitment agency will appear on the job advert. Your job application process will be managed by the recruiter.

“Agenda for change or Pay band”

Most NHS jobs are covered by Agenda for Change pay scales, a starting career in nursing and midwifery could start at Band 2 as a support worker rising up to a nurse consultant at Band 8a-c.

  • Maternity care assistant (Band 4)
  • Nurse (Band 5)
  • Midwife entry level (Band 5) rising to Band 6
  • Health visitor (Band 6)
  • Nurse team leader (Band 6)
  • Nurse advanced (Band 7)
  • Midwife team manager (Band 7)
  • Modern matron (Band 8a)
  • Nurse consultant (Band 8a-c)

“Reference Number”

Each job advert usually comes with a reference number that employers use to identify specific job vacancies. It’s a good idea to quote this reference number in your application letter, your email to the trust or recruiter and in the subject line of your email too. Quoting the number in as many places as possible makes it clear what job you are applying for and will make it less likely that your application could be lost.

“Closing date”

This is the date by which you need to get your application emailed or posted. It’s always a good idea to try and send your application in as soon as possible, before the deadline is due, as some employers can create a shortlist of applications and start interviews before the actual job deadline.

Good luck!

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