A job posting that makes you actually kind of want the job

If you've been following my blog, or know me at all, you know I have strong feelings about job postings. They're one of the main ways an organization can put its personality and values on display for the world, in a way that says "wouldn't you like to work here too?!"

Unfortunately, many are bad. TBH, most are bad. 

They're boring, they're formulaic, and they're full of a bunch of "marketing"* language and jargon that communicates "APPLY HERE FOR BORING DESK JOB. YOU WILL BE UNDERPAID, AND YOUR MANAGER WILL PROBABLY SUCK." 

* - putting "marketing" in quotes because good marketing is good, but job posting marketing language is typically not. I don't wanna insult any good marketers out there. 

Every once in awhile, though, I find a bit of a gem. Some orgs are generally pretty good about writing job posts for jobs that make you actually want the job (R Street Institute, oddly, is one of them), but I always like to discover a new diamond in the rough.

Depending on what corners of Twitter you hang out in, you might have seen Smartypants, the vitamin company, advertising their Ambassador of Healthy Skepticism opening. You can find the posting online here, but here's the screenshots for posterity: 

job post one.PNG
job post 2.PNG


So, what does this post do right? 

First, it has an interesting title. I know a lot of people aren't fans of the goofy job titles, for good reason, I think this one works because it communicates what the job is actually about. "Ambassador" tells the reader that the job is outward-facing, likely involving outreach and/or social media. Content Marketing is there to show you the department it's in, which tells you the job involves "generating content" aka writing (I loathe the word "content," since you're taking something whose whole point is to be interesting and making it into sterile jargon, but that's a rant for another day). "Healthy Skepticism" is a great phrase, because it flatters; who doesn't like to think of themselves as having a healthy skepticism? And for those who that's an important personal trait, it's generally very important (in the same way that you might use Chief of Logic and Reason to hire a libertarian department head; everyone likes to think they're logical and reasonable, but words mean different things to different people). 

It's descriptive in other ways too. I love the framing of "3-5 years of making stuff;" years of experience aren't a great predictor for anything, but it communicates that this is a mid-level position, that they want a track record of making things similar to what you'll make in this job. Raise your hand if you think that sounds more interesting than "content generation." I like that it tells you you'll need to be in front of a camera at times, that you'll spend most of your time doing research and writing and Tweeting and otherwise outputting information. 

It also has a strong strain of "you will work independently" in it, without directly stating it. Of course, the proof is in the pudding, but sentences like "You'll know the right medium when the time comes" tells me that this is a job where you'll get to exercise discretion and make decisions about what the best way to go about your job is. 

I also like the idea of working in fun jobs. TBH, outside of a couple fast food bad eggs, I've never worked at a not-fun job, and it really helps one deal with the soul-sucking nature of wage work. Of course, most fun is made not by the company but by the people you work with, but at least this indicates that your manager is probably not a total stick in the mud. And there's a lot of good fun in this posting; I love the Internet Explorer goof in the first paragraph, and I'm a fan of the Shrek reference even though *hangs head* I don't actually get it. And while i don't currently have a favorite dinosaur, I do appreciate the opportunity to mull it over (I'd probably need to go with whatever Ducky from A Land Before Time is, tbh). 

It's not perfect, of course. It doesn't list the position's salary, and perhaps more importantly, it's listed as a Contractor position, which they're probably using some really dodgy legal justifications for (which makes what they're doing, you know, wage theft). That's very much Not Cool, but I do think that this posting represents some positive things job ads can do, and can serve as a model for organizations that don't steal their employee's wages.