How not to write a job advert

A reader forwarded the following job advert to me. I believe it to be genuine, so if you’re interested, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with him.

Reporting directly to the CEO, and functioning as critical member of the global senior leadership team, the MD-Sales, Europe (MDSE) will assume a key leadership/transformational role in the organization. He/she will directly manage, upgrade and continue to build out/enhance a European sales team (provide leadership, direction, coaching, mentoring, sales discipline, team building etc.). Individual will, also, educate and train European staff members (sales and delivery/operations) to embrace and execute against an evolving, transformational shift in go-to-market strategy. Acting as the Company’s external thought leader, spokesperson and evangelist for the European community, the MDSE will clearly and inspirationally articulate and promote the Company’s innovative vision and messaging in order to build awareness and ongoing traction in the marketplace.

I’m so glad this a job that I’m singularly unqualified to do.

For a start, there’s all that tautology! How do I know when I’m providing “leadership” rather than “direction”? I’m sure I can cope with some “coaching”, but “mentoring” too? Then there’s the fact that I’d be expected to “clearly articulate” (as opposed to opaquely?) and “inspirationally promote” (as opposed to drearily?) the Company’s “innovative vision and messaging” (huh?). All in the name of a triply tautological “evolving, transformational shift”. Not sure I can take the pressure.

Especially when there are all those bizarre uses of prepositions to grapple with, such as “building out” and “executing against” (though they missed a trick with “reporting to” – doesn’t everyone, rather obscenely, “report into” their bosses these days?).

And that’s before we get to all the forward slashing and parenthesising and unnecessary capitalisation! Phew! Just getting your head around the Company (sic) style guide would leave you barely any time for executing your leaderly transformation / transformational leadership.

That said, while I’ve no idea how to “embrace and execute against an evolving, transformational shift in go-to-market strategy”, I can do quite a nice line in derision and disparagement. So please get in touch if your senior leadership team also needs a he/she to “function as critical member”.

Have you spotted some corporate gobbledygook that should be featured on the goodcopybadcopy blog? If so, Get in touch and if it’s really bad, I’ll pull it to pieces in public for you. Sound like a deal?

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

6 comments so far . . . come and pitch in!

  1. Brad Shorr says:

    Clare, I’d like to apply for this position; I am uniquely qualified/embraceable. It’s appealing that I can act like a thought leader without actually having to be one. And while I’m not sure I can provide leadership, direction, coaching, mentoring, sales discipline, and team building, I can’t help but feel the et cetera tasks are right up my alley.

  2. smfifteen says:

    What’s particularly hilarious (out of one long episode of gruesome hilarity) is that they clearly had so much jargon that they were trying to shoe-horn in to the advert that were unable to accommodate all of it into sentences, and so had to make do with forward slashes to separate pairs of words.
    I’m picturing the head of HR marching up to someone’s desk and emptying out an envelope of Corporate Jargon Magnetic Poetry (TM) in front of them and saying, “Make me a job advert out of that! All words MUST be used, or you’re fired!”

  3. Clare Lynch says:


    Thank you both for making me laugh out loud with your inspirationally / clearly articulated messaging.


  4. anon (but clare knows who i am) says:

    there was actually another two paragraphs of this job non-description but i didn’t want to hurt your brain too much, i fear a nuclear expletive explosion over SE1.

  5. Clare Lynch says:

    There was more expected of this transformational, evangelistic, executing leader?!? I’d have liked to have seen those other paragraphs. I might be tapping you for them if I ever run short of material (though that’s unlikely).

  6. […] goodcopybadcopy » Blog Archive » How not to write a job advert […]

Leave a Reply