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UX Writer Job Description: Examples from Airbnb, Spotify and Vanguard

Published 4th March 2021 12 minute read
This article aims to help you write a UX writer job description that not only clearly explains what the role is, but also to attract high quality applicants.
UX Writer Job Description

Introduction

Job descriptions are not easy to get right. They tread a fine line between concrete detail and alluring writing, aiming not only to explain what the job is, but make you want to apply for it too.

This article aims to help you write a UX writer job description that achieves both aims. We've used examples from Airbnb, Spotify, and Vanguard to see what they get right, what they get wrong, and what they all agree on.

Let's get to it.

What is a UX writer?

A UX writer is responsible for writing copy with the user's experience in mind. Whether it's copy for an instruction manual or a mobile app, the aim is to make sure the user achieves what they want to achieve. A UX writer will often use data and testing to inform their choices.

Nowadays, a UX writer will commonly write for apps, products and web experiences, working hand-in-hand with designers.

To learn more, read our 'What is a UX writer?' article, which includes some informative examples.

UX writer job description examples

Now it's time to take a look at some examples, and why not use some of the world's best known companies?

We'll take a look at their structure, focus, and responsibilities in detail, showing what the companies are prioritising when it comes to their UX writer roles.

Airbnb

UX Writer

Airbnb's three paragraph introduction does a lot with very little. They explain what part of the company the UX writer will be working in, the kind of team they'll join, and the type of person they're looking for.

"The Human team is looking for a writer that can help develop the narrative for the Open Homes products and community. The UX team within Human is small, but mighty. We're looking for someone who can be resourceful, flexible, and can effectively prioritize their work."

It also quickly tells you what you'll be working on, and what the aim is:

"Through the Open Homes program, we invite our hosts to open their homes to those that have been forcibly displaced and need temporary housing."

It's light on role specifics, but it gives a flavour of the type of work the writer will be doing. Clearly, if someone's looking for a big team and likes working on one or two tasks, this won't be a role for them.

Airbnb keeps the focus on the team as it goes on:

"We are a small, high-leverage team with diverse expertise in both product and operations. We move quickly, partner with relief agencies throughout the world, work directly with the people we're serving, and look to create scalable solutions to global problems."

This tells us that a team player is essential, and that a ton of excellent experience is not going to get you a job alone. Airbnb are obviously just as interested in how you work in relation to other people.

And before they get to the role responsibilities, there's a little more information on what the role includes:

"...this person will need to be comfortable writing content for multiple channels, including landing pages, emails, and short articles."

By this point, a potential candidate should know if this sounds right for them.

Be clear on the detail

We then come to their responsibilities list. Details on the team come straight at the top, also highlighting the range of specialists a candidate will be working with.

"Contribute to a product team of designers, researchers, product managers, engineers, and data scientists."

To back this up, there is also mention of working with a "global mindset", and working with other UX writers. Airbnb are making it very clear that they're not looking for lone wolves, and they need people who know how to collaborate and communicate effectively.

The diversity of the role soon becomes clearer as well, with a range of jobs and responsibilities listed, such as:

"Write clear and concise content across multiple touch points (including product names, labels and navigational elements, emails, tutorials, marketing pages, and notifications)."

And:

"Offer a content strategy perspective throughout the product development process, and influence strategic decisions across and within products to improve the overall experience and ensure consistency across platforms."

Reiterating the mention of emails and articles in the introduction, It's obvious the role requires someone with a diverse set of skills.

There are also details on the overall aim of the role, and how this looks both internally:

"Drive consensus across teams and advocate for solutions that balance the needs our hosts, guests, and nonprofit partners with our business goals."

And externally:

"Help people who use Airbnb feel welcome and empowered, carefully considering tone and writing content that's consistent with Airbnb's mission of belonging."

Experience and requirements

The job description ends with a list of requirements that neatly sum up the responsibilities section into bullet points. There's also some more details on tasks the candidate will be expected to do.

  • 5+ years professional writing experience
  • Excellent writing and editing skills
  • Experience writing content for web/mobile products
  • Experience writing emails, landing pages, or editorial content
  • Proven ability to collaborate successfully with cross-­functional partners
  • Ability to work independently in a fast-paced environment
  • Passion for Airbnb Open Home's mission and deep empathy for our diverse community
  • Experience writing stories or more long-form editorial content
  • Experience with trauma informed writing is a plus
  • Experience writing for social impact products or audiences is a plus
  • Solid understanding of email marketing and social channels are a plus
  • Portfolio of writing samples

All in all, it's a very strong job description. It manages to include the department's overall aim, the type of person who would be a good fit, clear ideas on the type of work expected, and the experience necessary to do it. And all without going over 450 words to boot.

But as we'll see in our next two examples, there's an area it's a little lacking in: diversity and inclusion.

Diversity & Inclusion

It's touched on very briefly with a reference to Airbnb's "diverse community", but there's no other information on Airbnb's company-wide approach, nor on what they expect from employees.

At a time when more and more people are looking for reassurance around this issue, it's a missed opportunity for Ainbnb to make it clear where they stand, especially considering they have a whole section on their website dedicated to it.

Finally, there's another piece of missing information, and that's the salary. All three job adverts skip this, and we'll explain later on why this is a big misstep.

Now onto Spotify's description. Overall, it's not hugely different to Airbnb's, except there's some changes in focus. For instance, rather than give details on the team the candidate will work with, they explain the missions of the relevant part of the company:

"Music for everyone, no credit card needed. It's a promise our platform was built on. And here in the Free team, we're still building on it."

It's more marketing-sounding, but its aim is to hype up the reader, and get them excited to work for something big.

The description quickly hits familiar marks, including collaborating with many different people and teams:

"We work on a massive scale, bringing people from all kinds of disciplines and all parts of the business together to deliver an amazing freemium experience."

The major difference is that Spotify gives far more detail on the role itself in its introduction. It makes it very clear they're looking for someone with a strategic mind:

"...working on our consumer-focused advertising experience and podcast monetization strategies."

And who can combine that with data and insights:

"Someone who is passionate about developing strategies based on insights from real people, has the proficiency in their craft to turn these insights into appealingly designed products."

Just like Airbnb, Spotify has quickly made it clear what kind of person would be a good fit for this role, based on what experience they have, how they work, and whether they'll be interested in the job's focus.

Say what they'll do and who you are looking for

Spotify then follows with the same sections as Airbnb's, although with slightly different names. 'Responsibilities' becomes 'What you'll do', and 'Requirements' becomes 'Who you are'.

They're subtle changes, but they'll read very differently. Spotify's use of 'who' and 'what' makes it sound far more human and collaborative, asking what a person will bring to the company, rather than what the company expects of them. It's a nice touch.

The actual details echo a lot of what we saw in the Airbnb ad. Again, there's more focus on being able to work with lots of people across many teams:

"Partner with designers, researchers, product managers, other UX writers and engineers to deliver compelling content solutions. Lead projects across the entire product lifecycle and multiple product launches. Together with these cross-functional partners, set the vision for the user experience and build the space for others to collaborate. "

They also link this to the kind of candidates they want, ones who are proactive in their work and able to independently find the right tasks:

"Apply big-picture thinking to break down open-ended opportunities into meaningful next steps. Find new opportunities to build patterns and approaches across org boundaries."

This goes on to link to other points about being autonomous and taking ownership of decisions and strategies.

What's very clear with Spotify's advert is that everything links together. Being collaborative is linked to taking initiative, ownership is linked to strategies that combine the work from various disciplines, and so on.

Provide additional clarity on who you're looking for

They finish off with a list of bullet points that further fleshes out the candidate they want, reiterating early points around communication, problem solving, and adding mentions around growth, the ability to brainstorm, and creating simplicity about complexity.

  • Experienced at writing or editing content for the web and mobile experiences, as a UX writer, information architect, content strategist, or similar. Experience designing for B2B and SaaS tools are big con.
  • Bonus if you have experience in Advertising or Messaging ecosystems.
  • A phenomenal communicator. You love to collaborate with lots of different functions.
  • A systems-thinker who loves to build simple and elegant experiences for complex products.
  • Have the skills to help set up frameworks and brainstorm initial design concepts.
  • A holistic user experience problem solver that considers every facet of the user journey.
  • Enjoy solving problems, big and small, for all kinds of users. Someone who constantly looks to hone your executions through user feedback.
  • A specialist in your craft, but you recognize the importance of setting aside the time and space to learn and grow.
  • Can provide an online portfolio, or PDF to share to help us learn about how you think and practice your craft. Please be sure to provide any necessary passwords; we can't advance your application without them.
  • Please provide a brief explanation in your application of why you are excellent for this role, while highlighting your portfolio.

While at times the copy can be a bit dense (let's not pretend "consumer-facing multimodal surfaces" is a particularly eloquent phrase), it does give more specific detail than Airbnb's on the work itself.

Diversity & Inclusion

Spotify also dedicates a whole paragraph to a statement on diversity and inclusion:

"You are welcome at Spotify for who you are, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or what's playing in your headphones. Our platform is for everyone, and so is our workplace. The more voices we have represented and amplified in our business, the more we will all thrive, contribute, and be forward-thinking! So bring us your personal experience, your perspectives, and your background. It's in our differences that we will find the power to keep revolutionizing the way the world listens."

It does very well to link inclusion and diversity back to the product. Logically it makes sense that a product used by all types of people, and one that wants to evolve in interesting ways, needs a diverse group of people working on it.

Vanguard

UX Writer

Finally it's Vanguard's description. Again, it's not too dissimilar to the previous two, in both content and format. Although there is some confusion from the start.

The job description title refers to something called 'CXD', but doesn't explain what it stands for. 'Customer experience design'? 'Client experience department'?

With some Googling, it looks like it refers to 'Client Experience and Digital", a term also used lower down in the job description, but no actual explanation is given. This may seem like nitpicking, but if anything, a job description should be as clear. Untranslated acronyms don't achieve this.

The description goes on to focus on to highlight similar topics and attributes to Airbnb and Spotify's, including collaborative teamwork:

"You'll work with team members across design, engineering, product, research, marketing, and customer service to build a world-class user experience."

Ask yourself: Is this confusing?

It goes onto list the role responsibilities, under the heading 'In this role you will', all of which are familiar to the previous job descriptions. But we also hit some more confusion.

The opening line of this description is:

"Make investing intuitive through the user experience."

Which tells us the job will involve working on a product relating to investing. There are multiple references to clients ("shape the future of our client experience") too, suggesting the work will be externally-facing. But then we get this:

"Write clear and concise content (including labels, navigational elements, interface language, accessibility content, detailed UX guidelines around visual style, component behaviors, and editorial advice) for an audience of designers, developers, writers, content strategists, and product owners"

Which sounds very internally-facing (unless the product is specifically for designers who invest, which we doubt). We can guess there will be work that's internal and external, just like in Airbnb and Spotify's description, but it isn't fully clear.

While most would be able to muddle through this, it's this kind of confusion that can turn a potential candidate off. They may worry that the role itself is ill-defined, something any serious person wants to avoid.

Make candidates feel comfortable (great example)

The most interesting part of the description is the section titled 'Specializations that will make an impact'.

  • 2+ years in a UX writing or technical writing role. Bonus if you've written for a design system experience. If you have other writing or UX experience that you think translates to this role well, we'd love to see your stuff.
  • Experience working on digital products. This role sits within the user experience design organization, so a foundational knowledge of what goes into product design is key.
  • Content strategy experience. While the focus of this role will be on content creation for the design system, there will be opportunities to solve business and user experience problems with content strategy. A basic understanding of Content Strategy principles and tools will be helpful.
  • A collaborative approach. You're a great partner to other writers, designers, and your cross-functional teammates and have the ability to iterate quickly in a highly collaborative, fast-paced, agile environment with multiple stakeholders with strong project planning, time management, collaboration and presentation skills.
  • A growth-mindset. You're open and receptive to feedback, and can adapt quickly in a fast-paced environment.
  • A sense of humor. You don't need to be a comedian, but playing board games and laughing over lunch keeps us energized throughout the day.

It's essentially a list of the experience Vanguard are looking for, but the title implies some wiggle-room around the requirements. This is a smart move. Many strong candidates fail to apply for jobs if they don't meet every single piece of criteria on a description, something that can lower the quality of the pool of potential candidates.

Vanguard even specifically tells people to apply even if their experience doesn't sound like it's a perfect fit:

"If you have other writing or UX experience that you think translates to this role well, we'd love to see your stuff."

It may mean sifting through some extra CVs, and possibly increasing the amount of poor quality ones, but it decreases the risk of a star candidate counting themselves out before they even apply.

Take diversity and inclusion seriously

Vanguard dedicates the most space to diversity and inclusion out of three articles. First, they have the following inclusion statement:

"Vanguard's continued commitment to diversity and inclusion is firmly rooted in our culture. Every decision we make to best serve our clients, crew (internally employees are referred to as crew), and communities is guided by one simple statement: "Do the right thing."

We believe that a critical aspect of doing the right thing requires building diverse, inclusive, and highly effective teams of individuals who are as unique as the clients they serve. We empower our crew to contribute their distinct strengths to achieving Vanguard's core purpose through our values.

When all crew members feel valued and included, our ability to collaborate and innovate is amplified, and we are united in delivering on Vanguard's core purpose.

Our core purpose: To take a stand for all investors, to treat them fairly, and to give them the best chance for investment success."

And then the follow it with this more legal boilerplate statement:

"Vanguard is an equal opportunity employer. Vanguard is committed to providing all crew members a working environment that is free from discrimination, prejudice and bias. Through this Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policy, Vanguard reaffirms its commitment to equal employment opportunity for all applicants and crew members without regard to race, color, national origin or ancestry, religion, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, marital status, veteran or military status. In addition, Vanguard prohibits discrimination based on genetic information, as well as any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law.

Applicants with disabilities may be entitled to reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act and certain state or local laws. A reasonable accommodation is a change in the way things are normally done which will ensure an equal employment opportunity without imposing undue hardship on Vanguard. Please inform careers@vanguard.com if you need assistance completing this application or to otherwise participate in the application process."

Combined they suggest Vanguard has taken a thoughtful approach to diversity and inclusion, how that should look internally, and have the legal knowledge for when it needs to be enforced.

In this category, Vanguard is certainly the best of the bunch.

Free template download

Use this UX Writer Job Description Template as a base, or to inspire your own. It's comprehensive and includes example excerpts discussed in this article.

Job template screenshot

What you should include in a UX writer job description

Having gone through the three adverts, we've found some major areas of common ground.

Collaboration came up time and time again, and links well with the other common theme of feedback and working well with other UX writers. It's clear this is not a job where you can lock yourself away and power through alone.

This links to another major theme: communication. This is given for a role that involves bringing together the thoughts and opinions from multiple teams and disciplines. That means the right candidate shouldn't just know how to craft a good email, but how to receive, process, and act on the many messages they'll receive each day.

The other big recurring area was the ability to work independently and without constant oversight. This means they should be able to order their day based on what needs to be done, rather than waiting for a manager to give them a to-do list. This takes confidence and experience to do properly, making these two qualities essential.

Show the damn salary

While more common than they used to be, it's relatively rare to see salary details on a job advert (and sometimes the ranges given are so wide to be near useless). If you're writing job descriptions without them, it's time to change for a few reasons.

For one, not including pay details can be exclusionary, as some marginalised groups are more affected. This can be due to a wariness to negotiate (often as a result of negative repercussions from previous attempts), which then leads to lower pay compared to other groups.

Any company who wants to take diversity and inclusion seriously should take note of this.

Also this lack of detail leads to awkward and uncomfortable poker-like negotiations. These can cause distrust between employee and employer, and harm the relationship. Not to mention if the employer "wins" by offering the lower salary they want, they'll now have a dissatisfied employee easily enticed away with decent pay.

For more details on why transparency around salary is good for both the company and the worker, check out Show the Pay.

Themes to think about when writing your UX writing job description

Finally we created a list of all the themes and requirements we found across our three job descriptions. We've tabled them below. If you're including all of these in your description, you'll be hitting the right marks.

Responsibilities and requirements Airbnb Spotify Vanguard
Collaboration and communication across multi-discipline teams
Relevant UX writing experience
Comfortable with flexibility and diverse responsibilities
Ability to prioritise own tasks and work with initiative
Justifying and reporting on your own work/your team's purpose
Interest in growth, learning, and feedback
Uses a data and insights-led approach
Brand voice and tone guidelines work
Other details Airbnb Spotify Vanguard
Detailed team description and how it operates
Who the customer/client is
Diversity and inclusion statement
What the company/team does
Company aim/mission
Portfolio request
Salary

How to make your job description engaging

What is obvious is that UX writer job descriptions will talk about similar topics. That means your description needs to act like more than a checklist of tasks and experience. It needs to inspire potential candidates to pick your company over others.

One way to achieve this is to talk about your company's wider mission. What are they trying to achieve? How do they want to change the world? What does success look like?

Spotify does this well by combining their wider aims with how the candidate's role fits into them. Although we've quoted some of this already, it's worth including the full paragraph:

"Music for everyone, no credit card needed. It's a promise our platform was built on. And here in the Free team, we're still building on it. We work on a massive scale, bringing people from all kinds of disciplines and all parts of the business together to deliver an amazing freemium experience to more than 129 million users worldwide. Want to help shape the future of free? Here's how."

Spotify put this front and centre of their advert. They clearly think it's integral to include this kind of information. Airbnb also do a similar thing:

"Through the Open Homes program, we invite our hosts to open their homes to those that have been forcibly displaced and need temporary housing. We are a small, high-leverage team with diverse expertise in both product and operations. We move quickly, partner with relief agencies throughout the world, work directly with the people we're serving, and look to create scalable solutions to global problems."

It's a more practical description of the work, but it gives a sense of purpose to the role.

And while it's nearer the bottom of their description, here's Vanguard's version:

"For us, investing doesn't just end in value. It starts with values. Because when you invest with courage, when you invest with clarity, and when you invest with care, you can get so much more in return. We invest with purpose — and that's how we've become a global market leader. Here, we grow by doing the right thing for the people we serve. And so can you."

Ultimately your aim is to stand out, and it's unlikely your UX Writer job description is going to be significantly different to everyone else's. That means bringing your company or team purpose to the fore. Get people excited, and you'll get the best talent applying.

Free template download

Use this UX Writer Job Description Template as a base, or to inspire your own. It's comprehensive and includes example excerpts discussed in this article.

Job template screenshot
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