Real ad as seen on the Positions Available section of a non-profit clearinghouse:
The (REDACTED] Foundation has an immediate opening for a lowly grant writer. The position reports to the Development Director whose job is secure so there is absolutely no chance of advancement short of assassination, and even then it is doubtful as the Board of Directors practices nepotism at the Director level. Start low, stay low.
The ideal candidate is an over-the-hill development professional at the end of his or her career whose ego has been shattered by extended unemployment and rejection by bureaucratic toads and smart-ass kids for positions he or she used to hire out and sneer at. Desperation is a plus, as is professional exhaustion and career fatigue.
The Foundation understands that because the non-profit world has been altered significantly over the last two decades, former mid- and high-level executives won’t ever reclaim the ground they lost when the fundamentals of the game were tossed out and their skills became obsolete. (“Don’t Tweet? Yer Obsolete!”) Applicants’ last hope is to find some remnant of the market where grant writing hasn’t quite yet been completely replaced by texting.
Applicants should subscribe to industry standards that render “grant writing” a process of filling out forms by cutting and pasting data carefully apportioned not to exceed a minimum number of characters (as opposed to words). A skill test to evaluate applicants’ capacity to substitute symbols and non-words (e.g., using 4 instead of for and replacing both adverbs and adjectives with emoticons) will be administered.
Applicants should send a cover letter not exceeding 500 characters and a current résumé not exceeding one page in 11 point font or larger. Even if an avalanche of applicants were not anticipated — and the Foundation understands that dire market conditions ensure thousands of desperate submissions — no acknowledgment of receipt will be provided. Applicants whose credentials in our judgment warrant further review will be notified at our convenience.
No phone calls. No personal visits. And not much chance for success but that won’t stop you. It’s a buyer’s market, and you’re selling shit.