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Boring Buzzwords Used in US Job Listings Alienate Skilled Candidates

Three-fourths of US employers are creating job listings using nondescript buzzwords that could fit any candidate, risking missing out or alienating the skilled candidates who would truly be qualified for the roles, according to data from global job search engine Adzuna.

Company Profile

Adzuna

  • 74% of US Job Listings Use At Least One Common Generic Buzzword According to Adzuna
  • With Unemployment at 4.1%, Employers Must Stand Out to Compete
  • The IT industry uses the most wacky buzzwords, topping the list for 'ground-breaking', 'guru', 'ninja', 'wizard', and ‘'assassin'.
Three-fourths of US employers are creating job listings using nondescript buzzwords that could fit any candidate, risking missing out or alienating the skilled candidates who would truly be qualified for the roles, according to data from global job search engine Adzuna.
Listings across all industries, from technology to education, are primarily using these top ten, broad buzzwords to describe their most desired candidate:
Buzzword
Vacancies
Average Salary
1.Flexible
718,131
$73,142
2.Degree
509,941
$121,816
3. Communication skills
502,017
$80,913
4. Qualified
499,302
$95,770
5. Effective
488,318
$93,442
6.Innovative
308,114
$112,548
7. Results
302,929
$96,151
8. Passionate
299,026
$140,186
9. Motivated
259,616
$139,570
10. Hands-on
233,168
$89,679
 

Lily Valentin, US Country Manager at Adzuna, comments: “This repetitive use of generic buzzwords reduces an employer’s chances of finding top candidates - how can you find outstanding talent when every job seeker could identify with those traits? Given that the US is experiencing low unemployment, employers need to differentiate themselves to compete for the smaller pool of candidates. The findings suggest that recruiting teams should adjust their listings to attract the brightest and most relevant candidates with more creative and better targeted criteria and qualities.”

To attract attention and break through the noise, some industries are using unusual buzzwords in their job listings. IT, an industry that was responsible for 20% of the sector-specific job growth in Q1 according to Adzuna data, uses the most wacky words, topping the list for 'ground-breaking', 'guru', 'ninja', 'wizard', 'assassin'. Healthcare and Sales also use unconventional descriptors in their job listings.
With Star Wars Day coming up on May 4, would-be Jedis are in luck as the term is gaining traction in more creative job listings.
Some of the top bizarre buzzwords that are garnering attention and their average salary include:
Buzzword
Vacancies
Average Salary
Eccentric
75
$154,166
Evangelist
1,218
$121,584
Killer
474
$113,230
Guru
957
$97,218
Superhero
237
$96,443
Rockstar
1,297
$95,615
Ninja
482
$79,692
Wizard
495
$79,153
Jedi
98
$64,480
Legend
648
$44,582
 
Valentin continues: “Employers should delete the generic descriptions, cut to the chase and simply say what they want. But do so in a fun, creative way with criteria that will stick out in applicants’ minds. This, in turn, will improve the quality of applicants, resumes and cover letters in their inboxes.”