Obfuscating on Thin Ice

Author: Senior Education Specialist

Due to the fact that I am a nerd I have a favourite word (actually I have a favourite street name too- Dickebush… but that is another story), is OBFUSCATE. It means to deliberately make something appear more difficult than it actually is.  I love that in order to use the word obfuscate, you must be obfuscating, it just tickles my fancy.

So where is this leading us? I have been thinking about obfuscation in relation to job applications lately, or to be less obfuscating, the use of jargon. Every industry has their own jargon and recruitment companies have software to sort out job applications where it looks for keywords, which really is just looking for that industry specific jargon. But is it really worthwhile?

One could argue that the in using the jargon relevant to your industry shows that your knowledge is current which is what the recruiters are looking for. Just using these words is not going to get you a job as somewhere down the track someone will read what written and if the jargon are not used in context then the application will be out of the running.

But what about those who haven’t used the keywords that they have been looking for?

After working for over a decade in my field and having thousands of professional conversations with colleagues, I have yet to use any jargon (unless someone has been making fun of the use of these words). That lack of using these words doesn’t mean that this content is any less cutting edge, thought provoking or relevant; it just means that we talk in a clear and concise manner in which the art of obfuscation is not valued. Yet if we wrote this way in a job application we would be overlooked, even though our understanding and skills may far outweigh someone who used the requisite jargon.

So what am I asking for?

All I want is for job application to be judged on its content rather than the use of obfuscating specialised vernacular that is deemed imperative to convey comprehension.