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Selling Themselves Short — Or Not At All

, , , , | Working | May 18, 2021

While job-hunting, I read about many kinds of vacancies. There are a few things that make me critical about them. Many of them seem deliberately vague about the salary, for instance, by calling it “in line with the market,” as if that means anything. They don’t realise that this makes them seem unreliable.

Others try to overcome their fear of not being professional enough by using typical poor buzzwords like “early adapter,” “career tiger,” etcetera. They don’t realise that a good professional doesn’t need this over-the-top language.

The worst offenders, however, are the ones that try to be cool and hip in the hopes of attracting young people. They do this by describing the job in a very joking fashion in the hope of making their workplace seem funny and exciting. In the end, they make themselves come over as some kind of David Brent; i.e. someone who desperately tries to be funny in order to hide their lack of professionalism, while actually coming off more unprofessional.

One of these I will never forget. It started with a typical, “What you are going to tell about your job when you’re at a party?” as if I am not capable of deciding what I tell myself, followed by, “What your job is actually going to be.” Right… And of course, there was a description of the typical workday, filled with clichés like, “In the morning, you join the team for a talk about today’s business, while enjoying a great cappuccino!”

This was followed by a list titled, “What do we offer you?

– Every week a Friday afternoon drink

– In December there’s Ugly Xmas Sweater Day!

– A salary – not too unimportant, either!”

There was more, but I stopped reading. While a Friday afternoon drink is nice, it’s not a reason for me to apply or not, let alone an Ugly Xmas Sweater Day. I decide based upon hours, distance, required qualifications, and… salary! It’s bad enough that you put salary after two quite unnecessary items. But if you’re not mentioning any amount and try to hide that behind a weak joke, you seem worse than a little bit unprofessional. It makes you seem unreliable. Good luck finding someone who is unwise enough to fall for it.

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