Job Jargon – Nonprofit Marketing Job Descriptions That Leave You Wondering

ktesonGuest blogger, Katy Teson is a young eco professional working in nonprofit marketing, media and outreach. Her experiences at regional and national organizations are the inspiration for her blog, where she writes about the “Swiss Army Knife” approach to nonprofit life. 

If lack of salary information is the #1 frustration when it comes to nonprofit job descriptions, industry jargon must be #2. After all, you’re not only looking to see if you’re qualified – you want specific information to know if the position offers you advancement and a little excitement plus what you can expect from a paycheck.

In reviewing eco-nonprofit marketing positions, so many employers use jargon-y terminology as a way to connect to the larger marketing and communications industry. Fair enough. The problem is when we start moving away from talking about deliverables and areas of responsibility to focus on undefined future scenarios or list vague platitudes. Ugh!

Are We Missing Out?

I fear that nonprofits are missing out on qualified candidates by making job seekers do a Google search to define “cross-platform integration.” In this world of tech-savvy Millennials and Gen Xers, a candidate can very well have the know-how but not know the lingo. If the talking-the-talk is important, then by all means use your job description to indicate that requirement. For most nonprofits, however, that’s probably not the case.

Take a look at these are examples of jargon and ambiguity from recent search for nonprofit marketers:

Develop the narrative arc for integrated, multi-channel campaigns, including audience engagement plans, content creation, and timelines

  • extract raw data from existing databases and derive market insights
  • episodic information sharing
  • build organizational capability by identifying skills needed and recruiting and developing staff in alignment with strategic priorities
  • create an impact-focused, metrics-driven communications and engagement strategy
  • develop tactical strategies and technical implementation to leverage enhanced platform functionality
  • work with the marketing engagement assistant to implement pre-strategized testing
  • assist supervisor with list management, list hygiene, and list growth
  • work to ensure there is a deepening interconnection and cross-pollination among the programs and initiatives.

On a positive note, there are gems like this one for a Manager of Digital Brand and Outreach for Humanity United. Direct, open to creative approaches, and personality. Seems like a good formula to me!

For those of you on either end of the job equation, hiring or applying, what do you think about jargon in job descriptions? Is it just “fluff” or a useful way to evaluate candidates? Please share your opinion here.

Guest Blogger in Jobs and Hiring | 3 comments
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