This article was originally published by Fortune.com on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012.
By Katherine Reynolds Lewis, contributor
FORTUNE -- Read enough help-wanted advertisements, and you'll soon realize that they all basically sound the same. Jargon like "detail-oriented" and "self-starter" is so overused that the positions advertised begin to sound unremarkable: part of the expected landscape of hunting for a job.
But if you stop and think about what all of these buzzwords are signaling, you'll realize how much information you just might miss if you fail to read between the lines. First of all, when employers fall back on the same old jargon to advertise positions, it could very well be that they actually have no idea what they are looking for. They just know they have a spot to fill.
"Jargon is our way to grow lazier decision making in corporate cultures," says Kevin Fleming, owner of Grey Matters, a neuroscience-based executive development and coaching firm based in Jackson Hole and Tulsa. "We use these words to cover up something. It could also be a way to hide some ambivalence."