Positive spelled out in scrabble letters
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If it ain’t broke, you’re probably going to fix it anyway

Last year Textio introduced a feature called Opportunities. The premise is simple. Opportunities show you places where there’s nothing wrong with what you’ve written, but Textio has detected another way to say it that will get a better response from people considering applying for your job post.

Screenshot of Opportunity feature in Textio showing the phrase "passionate about" as a suggested improvement to the phrase "focused on"

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with focus. It’s just that passion is better!

Opportunities are different from orange phrases. Based on the feedback loop from Textio’s customer data set, jobs with lots of orange phrases get fewer applicants, and the people who do apply are statistically less likely to be qualified enough to interview. These jobs draw a much less diverse applicant pool too. In other words, orange phrases are serious clunkers. You’d be well served to get rid of them at all costs.

Screenshot of job listing analyzed in Textio with multiple orange phrases highlighted

No one is applying for your job. Because it’s the worst one on the internet.

By contrast, when Textio shows you an Opportunity — a phrase with a green circle around it — there’s nothing really wrong with what you’ve written. It’s just that Textio has found a place where you can write things a little differently and get a much better result than you would have otherwise.

Textio is constantly calculating alternative ways to express what you’ve written and modeling the impact they will have on your job post performance. When Textio finds an Opportunity that will make your job perform better, the platform surfaces it for you to consider.

When we introduced the Opportunities feature, we expected that many people would find it useful as a supplement to Textio’s core guidance. We did not expect to see what has actually happened, which is that writers follow up on Opportunity suggestions nearly twice as often as they fix problematic orange phrases.

What’s going on here?

One possible explanation is pure volume. If Opportunity suggestions show up more frequently in Textio, then people have more chances to use them, right? But in reality, Opportunities show up almost exactly as often as the dreaded orange phrases. So how come writers act on Opportunities nearly twice as often?

My best guess is this: Writers are motivated more by finding novel, creative ways to express themselves than they are by fixing problems. Incidentally, based on what Textio has seen about the impact of grammar mistakes on job post performance (spoiler alert: there is none!), writers may not be wrong.

How many career coaches recommend doubling down on your strengths rather than focusing on your weaknesses? As humans, we are successful when we recognize what we’re good at and invest the energy to become great at it. As humans who write, why shouldn’t the same thing be true?

An Opportunity shows you a place where your writing is strong, and could be even stronger. Turns out that, as writers, we’re less inspired by seeing what’s wrong than we are by discovering what’s possible.

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