Job Descriptions Unleashed

Being freelance doesn’t necessarily mean having to stay freelance all the time. There are opportunities out there for a freelancer to supplement their freelance career with the odd stint of employment, working alongside their not so regular commissions. Particularly if the work offered is short contract work.

So far I haven’t really felt the need, but there are interesting jobs out there. A few have sparked my interest, some for all the wrong reasons.

Years ago I went on a marketing and advertising course (and I mean years ago… before the internet was at everyone’s fingertips and before the freelance world was thrust upon me), and while it gave me a good grounding and a giggle, some of the things that came up are still relevant today.

So when you are reading those interesting job adverts, pay attention. Does it say what you think it does?

Here, aided and abetted by years of experience (and a small smattering of humorous cynicism), is my take on what those advertising clichés really mean…

Jon S, Flikr
photo: Jon S, Flikr

The candidate must be/have:

Creative – must have the ability to think in curves, make work when there is little information to hand, and make a spectacular cup of tea for the office. If the work is to be carried out remotely, must be able to create work when information is thin on the ground, especially when there is little in the way of support from colleagues.

Strong skills – a candidate with years of experience, preferably one who will accept graduate pay for those years spent honing their skills. Alternatively, may be a specialist who has priced themselves out of mainstream work, and will therefore accept graduate pay.

Keen eye for detail – will spend hours on the job, a perfectionist who doesn’t mind working off the clock, or into the small hours.

Excellent communicator – willing to answer phones for the rest of the office, also with the ability to dig the team/boss out of a hole without receiving, or expecting to receive, any of the credit.

Be proactive – must be able to be Creative (see above), and chase up colleagues and clients who are having a CBA (cannot be ….) day.

Perform other duties as required – shorthand for we can’t be bothered to dissect the job requirements, and you must be able to use a photocopier and remember coffee orders.

Must be able to work independently – we haven’t got a clue how you do what you do, and no-one in the office does either.

Strong leadership skills – must be able to make sure this rabble in the office do more than visit YouTube for cute cats, play Candy Crush and surf the web all day.

Able to work well under pressure – you want to keep this job, we all want to keep this job, but unless you work 24/7 this shit’s going down. Say goodbye to your weekends buddy.

The job:

Delighted to announce – shit, someone else has left.

Exciting opportunity – the job may be a little mundane, but the right person will see it as exciting…hell, they’ll have a job.

Fantastic opportunity – a job with little basis in reality, conceived without regard for reason, mysterious or existing only in the imagination of the employer.

Young, energetic team – over 30, don’t bother. Over 30 and could do the job in your sleep…really don’t bother, you’re also too expensive.

Great exposure in your field – we’re not going to pay you.

Intern – will bring great exposure in your field (see above)

How many of these have you seen recently? I know I’ve left out many similar wonderful phrases but life’s too short to write them all down. So here’s a weekend game for you to while away the hours… try to find the advert with the most clichés then translate. Always good for a giggle, even better than gizoogling random websites (well, sometimes).


Disclaimer: Most of the job adverts you see will, of course, be on the level, however, I’ve been around long enough to know that perhaps, just perhaps, I may be right

And if you’ve recently written one of these job descriptions…hang your head in shame … I’d love to see a brutally honest one. It may even land you the candidate you deserve.

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