How to write clearly
I came across a terrific example of a recruiting ad yesterday. I quite often flip through the display job ads in Saturday's newspaper, as a rough 'pulse check' of the state of the economy.
Among the usual 'exciting new positions' and 'challenging opportunity' blah and dross, one ad really stood out. Here's a few examples of why:
Manager - Customer Contact Solutions
- Lead the charge
- Create the strategy
- Inspire the managers
- Analyse the performance
- Improve it
Learning and Development Manager
- Build relationships
- Manage the team
- Drive the strategy
- Raise the profile
- Measure the results
Telesales Team Manager
- Motivate the team
- Drive the performance
- Meet the targets
- Maintain the rage
- Make sure it's right.
There were several things I liked. The brevity and clarity for one. I don't know exactly what they have in mind as a Manager of 'Customer Contact Solutions', but I get a good snapshot of this role, as with the others, from the short set of bullet points. As well as the order of tasks to be done. Even more admirable is the focus on measurement and improvement, beyond just the doing. Rare indeed.
Look at the very last point in each role above; each of the roles had a final point along similar lines: 'Do it better', 'Make sure it works' and 'Make it better'. That sounds like a company that has a good grasp on a number of things to me, including improvement tools and techniques and the importance of setting targets and assessing performance against them.
Contrast this with the usual blah-blah type of ad. You know, the ones that take most of the ad to promote themselves and what a terrific company they are, rather than the actual job.
Such as this example on the same page:
Business Manager - Cards
We are one of the leading suppliers for mining, aviation, industrial and transport industries. This means for our Direct Sales teams, there's no such thing as a typical day. Our business continues to expand on the back of superior customer relationship management, a reputation for delivering on commitments and the provision of top quality products. An exciting new position is now available in our Direct Sales business in Melbourne.
You will manage the strategic relationship of our fuel-card, fleet management and other non-fuel income products and services to national and regional accounts in order to meet agreed sales volumes and revenue targets...
And so on and so on for another 4 paragraphs.
I know which company I'd apply to if I was looking for a new job. Which I'm not since I have my own company and love what I do. But I also know which recruiting company I'd use (if I needed one) and which I'd avoid.
I remain curious about how much money some companies put into display ads like Example 2. Ads that have so many, many words in them but which really say so very, very little.
Give me succinct clear bullet points any day. And something that demonstrates an understanding of quality and improvement, rather than just writing lots of words about it.
Author: Jane Bennett