How To Use Inclusive Language In Your Job Postings

Mariana Toledo
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Inclusive language has a bigger impact than most think. As job seekers read job postings, they are searching for keywords and phrases that match their description. Incidentally, outdated job postings might accidentally include ableist, ageist or misogynistic phrasing. Inclusive language means including or covering all the services, facilities, or items normally expected or required. Workplaces are learning to be more inclusive in the office, but it’s important to mirror that in job postings. Here are three things to avoid in job postings that can be replaced with inclusive language.

1. Ditch gender coded words

One thing to avoid is using he/her. Instead of using that he/her phrase, simply replace it with they or them. It’s still grammatically correct and inclusive. Not only does this save time for the person drafting the posting, it is also gender inclusive. Around 2 million people in the United States identify as gender non-conforming or non-binary. By utilizing non gender coded words, you are normalizing trans and non-binary identities, which in return will introduce more candidates for your position.

2. Remove ableist vocabulary

These phrases have been used for so long that we don’t notice that we’re discouraging someone with a disability from applying. A reoccurring paragraph on many job postings state that the employee should be able to lift 50 pounds and have the ability to complete tasks with little to no accommodations. If these qualifications are necessary for the job, rephrase it to include disabled workers. For example, replace “complete tasks with little to no accommodations” to “complete tasks with or without reasonable accommodations”. A small change like this can make a big difference.

3. Be aware of literacy exclusion

Job postings all look the same. Paragraph after paragraph with intentional white spaces, but in a recent study it was found that 10% of the United States population has dyslexia. Because of this, you could be accidentally closing doors on potential candidates by how the job posting is formatted. In order to make the posting easy to read, avoid small and skinny fonts—in places you can control that. Utilize thicker lettering such as a Serif. Another good tip is to keep your sentences and paragraphs short, and utilize the white space to break up the text, which will make it easier to read.

Inclusivity starts in the workplace. If you are not training your current employees how to be inclusive within the company, then it won’t be reflected in your job posting. If your goal is to create a more inclusive and diverse workplace, you have to start from within, and that starts with  inclusive job postings.

The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. 


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