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Annals of Marketing
Writing Job Applications
Wednesday, 19th May, 2010  - David Farmer
Each year the Plain English Campaign award The Golden Bull for the worst examples of written tripe and the Foot in Mouth award for baffling quotes by public figures.*

An interesting area of marketing is writing an appealing job advertisement. How do you attract the right people to apply for a job you have available? The problem with good people is they are happy where they are and are not looking at advertisements. This has led to a huge business being created, recruitment agencies, which are meant to target the right people with a direct approach.

As they are expensive to use most of us must write a job proposal as best we can. Some copy writers are tempted to make the job seem particularly appealing by lapsing into terminology which is difficult to understand presumably to make the job seem more important. Here is an example from the U.K. Telegraph, 25th June, 2009, with the Kirklees Council looking for a Director of Organisation Development.

"The ideal candidate must have "cross-functional experience" and play a "key role in ensuring the effective integration of national, regional and local drivers"..."The new director of organisation development will face a number of challenges, including making sure: That the diversity of Kirklees is understood by all in the organisation; is valued as a strength but a strength that challenges us to respond to its complex implications; and is reflected in the career structures within the organisation."

"Marie Clair, spokesman for the Plain English Campaign, said: "This is typical of the council waffle that leaves people stunned.

"The advertisement contains many examples of typical Government jargon that is perfect for confusing, hiding and misleading the reader.

"If this is a serious job at a senior level with a super salary, the least they could do is make sure that the details are absolutely clear. Waffle leaves room for excuses and misinterpretation. Let's have some clarity and honesty, particularly at senior levels."

Kirklees Council could not care less about those who found the job description confusing which incidentally offered 119,000 a year.

"Cliff Stewart, human resources director at the council, justified the language used in the advert.

"The terms used in the advert will mean a lot to the sort of people who are looking at this. We've received 40 expressions of interest in this job and 10 people have applied. We're hitting our target audience."



* A past Foot in Mouth winner was Lord Peter Mandelson with this comment on the investigations into MP's expenses - "Perhaps we need not more people looking round more corners but the same people looking round more corners more thoroughly to avoid the small things detracting from the big things the Prime Minister is getting right."

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