A table showing frequencies of phrases in job posts by location
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Everything is Awesome

It’s a sunny afternoon and, like everyone else in San Francisco, I am sitting outside a coffee shop working on my laptop. Three obvious techies are one table over from me. A couple of things give them away: the loud discussion they’re having about servers, and the t-shirts that say I ❤ DATA and alt.fan.nerd.

I live in Seattle, but I spend a lot of time in San Francisco. The cities have a lot in common. They’re both tech-heavy places that pride themselves on progressive thinking. But just as California is sunnier than Seattle, the people who live there talk sunnier too. Because everything these guys next to me are saying is awesome or super awesome. Sometimes it is even seriously awesome.

It started me thinking: People in California talk sunny. Are their job listings sunny too?

Let’s start with awesome. As of this writing, out of 36,469 jobs we looked at for Seattle, 552 of them include awesome. That’s 1.5%. Out of 53,523 jobs for San Francisco, 1,662 include awesome. That’s over 3%! So a job in San Francisco is twice as likely to contain the word awesome as Seattle.

In fact, San Francisco likes awesome more than anywhere else in the country. The next closest major city is Dallas, which comes in over 2%. The lowest? Anchorage, Alaska, with just 0.06% of jobs that are awesome.

This matches what we see at Textio: as a predictive phrase, awesome has a greater impact on positive job applicant engagement for San Francisco jobs than it does anywhere else in the country.

The language that you use in your job listing changes who will apply. But the phrases that work best depend where you live. What works in New York doesn’t always work in San Francisco, even for jobs that are listed by the same company.

Not surprisingly, San Francisco leads the pack on language that drives engagement for tech jobs: creative, innovative, ambitious, and rock star are all more prevalent there, and those terms have a greater impact on applicant engagement in San Francisco than they do anywhere else in the country.

Seattle comes out ahead on ethical language. Phrases like values, honesty, and integrity show up more in Seattle than anywhere else. These terms also drive engagement for Seattle job seekers more than they do in other locations.

But if you’re looking for a job that’s laid-back, you’ll do better in Honolulu and Los Angeles than anywhere else.

How do other cities stack up? Take a look at what we’ve found for a sampling of cities and phrases.

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