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June 08, 2016 The ultimate guide to writing a great job advert Stephanie Mills, Communications Manager

The ultimate guide to writing a great job advert

There are so many variables to consider when recruiting that it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. Google ‘how to recruit staff’ and you’ll find pages of advice offering employer tips on attracting and retaining the right people.

Chances are you found this blog doing exactly the same – looking for answers to ensure your job board grabs a bigger share of employer revenues.

While a combination of factors affect the success of a job advert, from employer branding to the current skills shortage, sometimes it's the little things that can make a big difference.

Writing a good job post is critical when recruiting, but it's a skill that is often overlooked. Make sure your customers create a well-crafted advert by following these rules…

Target audience

Just as a business has a target audience, so does a job advert. Before employers get writing they need to think about the type of job seeker they want to attract. This needs to be reflected in the advert, to ensure only the right resumes are sent in.

What’s in a name?

A job title is the shop window to an advert and the first chance to get job seekers clicking, so keep it simple, and make it as appealing as possible. Words such as ‘executive’ sound far more exciting than ‘officer’.

The main reason for a job title is to show up in search results. Think about what potential candidates will be searching for, and what keywords they might use.

Savvy employers pick job titles with the widest reach, rather than choosing an ambiguous title that fits with their company. They can always add a strap-line to give more detailed information about the position, if necessary.

Devil’s in the detail

A job post has around 20 seconds, or two sentences to make an impact, before job seekers move on to the next one. Make sure adverts are top-loaded, with the most important facts first, to keep them reading.

According to a report, online job adverts that include salary information receive over 40% more applications. Location is also important, followed by a snappy, but inspirational outline of what the job entails. Sell the job – don’t just describe it.

Short but sweet

Short sentences, bite-sized paragraphs and bullet points are best when writing an advert. If it is too convoluted they will loose job seekers’ attention.

Use subheads to break up the advert into clear sections, so job seekers can scan it for information most important to them – whether that’s job responsibilities, qualifications/skills required, or how to apply.

Keep it personal

Employers need to think like a job seeker and make the advert about them and not the company. Use the second person, referring to potential applicants as ‘you’ where possible to help them visualize themselves in the role.

Don’t forget to drop in a few superlatives to sell the job and create excitement. “As the marketing executive you will develop and manage engaging, effective content strategies to help us move into exciting new territories.”

Use language job seekers can relate to and avoid jargon. If an employer is looking for graduate recruits they can be less formal and more friendly, while a senior management position might require more sesquipedalian prose. (It’s OK, you can look up that up… we did).

Task master

List a maximum of 10 key tasks the successful applicant will be expected to undertake and avoid too much detail. An advert isn’t a job description so it doesn't need to include every aspect of the role – its main purpose is to get the right candidate to click 'apply.'

Encourage employers to include something new, innovative and challenging about the role or their company to make them stand out in a crowded market.

Essential experience

Focus on the key must-haves. Listing too many requirements can detract from the essential skills and experience required. The same goes for a ‘desired’ list of attributes – if it’s not a deal breaker, leave it out. Strong candidates may be put off from applying if they feel they can’t match all the requirements.

Express yourself

As well as talking about the job and its requirements, employers need to sell themselves. This is where a strong brand can win or lose the recruitment war. Employers should highlight benefits and perks, describe the company culture and tell job seekers why their company is the right fit for them.

This is the perfect opportunity for job board owners to increase revenue with upsell products, such as a company profile. This provides everything job seekers need to know about an employer, without them clicking away from the job board.

Be competitive

Your customers can learn a great deal about what works and what doesn't in a job advert by checking out the competition. Find out what keywords other employers use, what skills they require and what perks they offer. For example, they can’t match the salary they need to come up with other selling points, such as flexible working hours, to attract quality candidates.

Madgex job board software Global jobseeker survey