Enticing job applicants to ‘Make a difference’

Scan the Saturday job advertisements for government agencies and you find an increasing number are claiming they offer the opportunity to ‘make a difference’.

  • Crimtrac asks ‘Do you want to make a difference?’
  • Professional Services Review says ‘Make a big difference in a small agency …’
  • Bureau of Meterology tells us ‘This project will shape Australia’s future. Think what it could do for your career’.
  • Department of Human Services asks ‘Want to make a difference?’

Enticing headlines. But what do they mean? How will I make a difference if I work for these organisations?

To understand making a difference we need specifics. Not generalities, such as “outstanding opportunity to experience a wide range of challenging, but rewarding work experiences …”

To understand how I will make a difference I need to know the answers to these questions:

  • What will change as a result of what I do?
  • Who will be directly affected by this change?
  • Who will be indirectly affected by this change?
  • How will I know?
  • How will I bring about this change?
  • Why is this change important?
  • Will the change affect the social, physical, economic, emotional, spiritual environmental position of some one, some group, some region, sector or Australia?
  • Will I really be able to contribute my ideas and expertise?
  • How long will it take to see a difference?
  • Who else will help me make a difference?

Until applicants are provided with this information, the enticement will ring hollow.

Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.