Ten tired job ad buzzwords

By on March 20, 2013

Are you on the look-out for a ‘passionate, motivated, innovative, organised’ new recruit? Join the jargon club. You’ve just used four of the top ten buzzwords of the year. Rebecca Burn-Callander shares more buzzwords.

Last month, job search website Adzuna analysed over 500 000 job ads to find out the buzzwords most over-used by employers. It struck gold. Over half of all job ads posted in the last month have used at least one of the top three terms, demanding ‘communication skills’, or ‘passionate’ or ‘motivated’ applicants, and almost 90% of ads include at least one cliché from the top 10.

Management would like to take this opportunity to give you the Collins Dictionary definition of ‘passionate’: ‘manifesting or exhibiting intense sexual feeling or desire’. Not necessarily something you want in the workplace…

Here’s the full list of 2012 buzzwords:

1.Communication Skills
2. Passionate
3. Motivated
4. Organised
5. Track Record
6. Innovative
7. Dynamic
8. Proactive
9. Creative
10. Enthusiastic

And it doesn’t end there. There are a host of new and ‘wacky’ buzzwords being used to lure in talent, mainly in the digital space. As of last month, employers were trying to hire a ‘guru’, 70 wanted a ‘ninja’ (the web variety, rather than a genuine kung fu master), and one employer was even seeking a ‘Jedi’.

Tech giants Google, Apple and Facebook appear to be leading the charge on these new stylistic superlatives, with more than 100 job ads from these companies making it into the wacky list. Although restaurant chain Nando’s is also in a league of its own: it only accepts candidates of ‘legendary’ status.

Check out the top 10 wackiest job buzzwords:

1. Guru
2. Ninja
3. Rockstar
4. Superhero
5. Wizard
6. Legend
7. Supremo
8. Boffin
9. Overlord
10. Jedi

Interestingly, it turns out that these labels have salary implications. ‘Rockstars’ and ‘overlords’ are paid R500 000 or more a year on average, while ‘superheros’ and ‘wizards’ are on more mortal salaries: between +R290 000 and +R310 000. Accenture, the NHS and Sainsbury’s have been crowned the most jargon-tastic companies, with 95% of job ads from these companies including at least four of the top 10 most overused buzzwords.

Are you a buzzword abuser? Let us know.

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