You want me to do what? Deciphering job description jargon

I received an email from a successful Advanced Certificate student this morning who is applying for a job in marketing.  What made this different from the usual email keeping me up to date with how things are going, was a question relating to jargon in the job description:

To support and deliver marketing campaigns designed to recruit new members
In particular the following areas will be deemed the channels of particular interest
•  Direct mail campaigns
•  Media insert and product despatch insert channel management
•  Member get member campaigns

What does the second bullet point mean?  Media inserts are those annoying leaflets that fall out of free newspapers and glossy magazines, and I am aware of inserts sent with bills and other mailings, but I’d never heard of “product despatch insert channel management”.

So I grabbed a and pondered… product despatch… I wonder…
when packages of books arrive from aren’t there leaflets in the bottom?  This must be a marketing channel… Eureka!!

A quick Google search finds (strategies for multi-channel retailing) where I learn that Amazon launched this channel in 2004, through – enabling pre-printed ad inserts to be send in its millions of packages except, accepting only one in five of those marketers who apply to use the channel and focusing on large retailiers and manufacturers of well-known brands.  So now you know!

I hope I’ve successfully deciphered this job description jargon – and I’ve learned something too.

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.

4 thoughts on “You want me to do what? Deciphering job description jargon”

  1. I sent an application pack off today for an in-house comms officer job. It took me about four hours from start to finish and I was totally exhausted.

    But, I was very excited to see they had attached an organsational structure chart for my attention too. And there it was: communications director relating directly to management alongside the other two directors. Great stuff, just where PR should be. I have never seen this kind of information in a job application pack before. Round of applause for forward thinking communication with job hunting publics!

    And, the role is a strategic one – even better. Fingers crossed!

  2. Good luck with the application – they sound like an open organisation in providing so much information which is good. Also requiring applicants to think carefully before submitting their response has to be good. Only those serious, who are prepared to show commitment, will get through. Provided of course, they then follow through with such professionalism. I look forward to hearing how it goes.

  3. Heather, I read this with interest, as it seems as if the advertiser really wanted somebody with “Amazon” experience (does that really mesh with the fact that most people who worked at the company before are disqualified almost immediately?) Hmmmmmm. If I were in HR, I would review and reject that job description as too restrictive. That almost never happens, because HRs themselves are usually underqualified (not being a profit center) to actually manage things.

  4. Michael – I agree about the role of HR in organisations. Even when it is senior function, I’m constantly surprised that HR doesn’t act more strategically. I recently saw some job descriptions for two roles at the same level in the same organisation, but written by different managers. Despite the same senior HR person being involved, there was no consistency in the language used, clarity of objectives, etc, etc.

    Surely it isn’t beyond the control of the HR function to oversee and prescribe a corporate consistency on such documents? There seemed to be such a hands-off approach in terms of letting each manager write their team’s job descriptions that there was no over-arching HR strategy. It was a major organisation that should know better too.

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