Periods, those small punctuation marks that signal the end of a sentence, may seem inconsequential. Yet, in the realm of job descriptions, their usage – or lack thereof – has sparked a heated debate. Some argue that periods are necessary for clarity and professionalism, while others claim they hinder readability and deter potential applicants. Beyond these practical concerns, there are also questions about the impact of periods on gender bias in job descriptions. In this article, we will delve into the pros and cons of including periods in job descriptions, explore how they influence job seekers, and examine how companies are breaking from tradition to embrace a period-less approach.

The Debate Over Periods in Job Descriptions

The debate over whether or not job descriptions should have periods centers around the tension between clarity and readability. Proponents of using periods argue that they provide structure and make the text easier to follow. They believe that job descriptions should adhere to standard grammar rules to maintain professionalism. However, opponents argue that periods interrupt the flow of the text and make job descriptions sound more formal. They believe that a more conversational tone is preferable to engage potential applicants. This debate highlights the challenge of striking the right balance between clear communication and approachability in job descriptions.

Clarity vs. Readability: A Contentious Issue

The impact of periods on applicant perception is a crucial aspect of the debate. Research has shown that job applicants may interpret the use of periods as a sign of formality and strictness within the company culture. While some applicants may appreciate this sense of structure, others may be put off by it. Additionally, periods can make job descriptions feel more rigid and intimidating, potentially deterring individuals who value a more flexible work environment. On the other hand, omitting periods can create a more informal and welcoming tone, appealing to a broader range of candidates. Thus, the decision to include or exclude periods in job descriptions can significantly influence how potential applicants perceive the company and its work culture.

The Impact of Punctuation on Applicant Perception

The debate surrounding periods in job descriptions also extends to the issue of gender bias. Studies have shown that gender-neutral job descriptions are more likely to attract a diverse pool of applicants. Interestingly, the use of periods in job ads has been found to contribute to gender bias. Research indicates that job descriptions without periods are perceived as more inclusive and less masculine, leading to a higher number of female applicants. By eliminating periods, companies can take a small but meaningful step towards reducing gender bias and promoting diversity in their hiring practices.

Final Thoughts


As companies strive to attract top talent and foster an inclusive work environment, they are reevaluating the use of periods in job descriptions. Many forward-thinking organizations have already made the shift towards period-less job ads, recognizing the potential benefits in terms of readability, inclusivity, and appealing to a wider candidate pool. While the debate over periods in job descriptions is ongoing, it is clear that punctuation holds more significance than meets the eye. By carefully considering the impact of periods on clarity, readability, applicant perception, and gender bias, companies can ensure that their job descriptions effectively communicate their values and attract the right candidates.

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