Everyone = anyone

College applicants—and professional recruiters—can learn a lot about the art of presentation from the way most businesses write job posts.

Too many companies post job openings that include a lot of words without actually saying anything.

A few real examples I found with a brief Google search:

“Seeking accomplished executive able to drive results through high engagement, collaboration, and accountability.”

“Must be a strong, self-motivated, self-directed leader with the ability to effectively operate and deliver high-quality results in a fast-paced environment.”

“Deliver stories and activations within the primary stream of the brand process and create sufficient organizational focus to achieve the revenue goals.”

Sure, the sentences are technically correct in that they are free of spelling and grammar mistakes. But it’s hard to imagine any strong candidate reading these posts alone and deciding, “I think this sounds like the perfect role for me!”

Consider what’s at stake for both the company and the candidate when seeking to fill a position. The company will invest time, energy, and money into whoever is hired. Their performance will almost certainly impact the business and their coworkers. And for just about any applicant, taking a new job is a big deal. In saying yes to an offer, they’re inevitably saying no to something else, like a different offer, or their current job, or even their current city or career path.

With so much on the line, why resort to language that sounds just like every other (terrible) job post? Don’t both parties deserve a thoughtful description of the company, the role, and the type of person who would likely be successful within both? Doesn’t the entire process work better when the ad draws in the right people, and even repels those who would ultimately never thrive in this opportunity?

There are two lessons here:

(1) Presenting something that reads, looks, or sounds like all the others is a lousy way to stand out.

(2) Whether you’re writing a college essay, website copy, or a job post, don’t use bland, recycled wording and descriptions just for the sake of filling the space. Be clear. Be direct. Be specific. Say something. Sound like you.

Presenting like everyone reduces you to just anyone.

P.S. In Collegewise, we’ve built a company we believe is unlike any other. And we’ve given our job posts the thoughtful care and attention to reflect just that.