A job ad should increase awareness, finesse your company's image and strategically reach the right audience. At its core, the job ad serves two basic purposes: attract the right candidate to your company and make your company attractive to the right candidate.
A key step to achieving these goals is to draft a job ad that is clear, compelling and naturally captures the attention of prospective applicants — all while distinguishing itself from competing posts.
How can this be done? Below, we cover some basic tips to consider while drafting your ad.
The Essential Elements
First things first, before taking a deeper look at the copy, ensure your listing has all of the following:
- The job title or department
- A compelling headline
- A subheader that provides additional clarity and insight into the role
- Body copy that includes an overview, responsibilities, and qualifications. This copy should remain benefit-oriented and include details such as job location, travel requirements, etc.
- Your company’s name, logo, and a brief description
- A strong CTA: Include clear instructions on how to receive more information or apply. If possible, provide a number of response options.
The Next Step: Qualities of Well-Written Job Ads
- Start with a hook: Consider the most attractive qualities of the open role. Once you have your list, think about which may be the most valuable to your specific target audience, and highlight this point early on in the description.
- Keep it simple: Don't overwhelm job seekers with details or too many choices that may cause them to postpone making a decision. Many prospects will sidestep an ad if they think they don't have all the credentials or qualifications.
- Consider skimmers: Most people briefly scan a piece of text to see if it piques their interest before reading it more thoroughly. Optimize your job ad for skimming by including concise language, highlighting the most important points in headers and subheaders, and favoring easy-to-scan formatting (i.e., bite-sized paragraphs, bulleted lists) over dense blocks of text.
- Be concise, consistent, and clear: Is it possible to get your point across using fewer words? If so, whittle down the copy until it is crisp and sharp. Maintain the same tone in your writing throughout the entirety of the piece. And finally, ensure that the ad is free of ambiguous, vague, or confusing language.
- Thoughtfully select a position title: Pick a title that anyone can understand, not one that reflects a classification specific to your organization. If you are looking for an industry-specific candidate, such as a government contractor, state that up front.
- Offer a clear statement of benefits: If you make certain claims, support them (give prospects a "reason to believe"). In longer ads testimonials can be excellent for reinforcing your claims.
- Be honest: Communicate who you are in a way that is genuine and believable. Don't present your work environment as informal and casual if that's not true. Your ad shouldn't just get a good response;it should be a credible portrait of who you are.
- Highlight opportunities for growth: Instead of focusing exclusively on qualifications and responsibilities, highlight what the candidate will gain from the role. "Will manage a national corporate branding campaign" is a much more appealing statement than "Must have 10 years of marketing experience."
- Further distinguish your company: Salary and benefits usually aren't enough to satisfy today's job seekers. Does your company have other appealing qualities such as family-friendliness, a casual work environment, flexible scheduling, professional development opportunities, and others? If so, mention these in your ad.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat. Run the ad several times. You may have to run an ad as many as nine times before a person will respond.
A targeted, thoughtfully written job ad ensures that you will attract the very best applicants. They will have the skills you're looking for, and they will have a clear idea of who you are, what you expect, and what makes you an attractive employer.