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Job Ad Jargon: Where Do You Stand?

Jargon jars, especially in writing to clients, who either don't get the terms or repel at the sight of some of your techie or business-speak. With better writing, you will rely less on jargon to get you through.

This also for nabbing good employees, too. A recent analysis of 6.3 million job descriptions posted online looked for 40 common (and dare we say, overused?) phrases. They broke it down geographically (across the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the UK). And guess who "took the cake?" My home state of Washington, where 593 of every 1,000 job ads placed used business buzzwords, technical jargon, or acronyms only insiders would understand.

Some of that jargon has a place in job ads. After all, information technology jobs (among the top buzzword-packed fields) and other industries have plenty of terms that only people who have studied or worked in the field would (and should) know. In the line of online postings, a little job-related jargon can weed out the field, helping ensure that only those who get it will apply.

Not so with mindset and trait-related buzzwords. Really, who doesn't consider one's self a "self-starter," "go-getter," or "team player"? Other common phrases in job ads include "hit the ground running" and "proven track record" or "peel the onion." These phrases just make the employers look ridiculous, and really are not specific enough to matter to the employer or the applicant. As with all business writing, say what you want people to know: "has experience working with xxx," "supervised a team for at least 2 years," or "has a work history demonstrating advancement." When it comes to other business writing, like consumer ads, product information, or any customer communication, jargon just confuses or turns off readers. Our licensing program can train a trainer to help improve your business writing so you do not have to rely on vague, worn-out phrases to say what you mean—in job ads or any other materials. Learn more on our licensing program online or by calling us at 425.485.3221.


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