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How to write a great job ad

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A job advert sounds like the simplest thing in the world to write doesn’t it? Surely all the hard work lies with the jobseekers? Well, no. With more candidates than ever before fighting for one job, the pressure has moved onto recruiters, and it’s never been more important to write a great ad to make sure only the most relevant people apply. Get it wrong and you’ll be sifting through multitudes of applications, but write it well and you’ll be interviewing the finest jobseekers around. So how do you write the perfect job ad? Believe it or not, it’s easier than you may think. Read our handy hints on writing a job ad and you won’t have to spend time working through screeds of irrelevant applications ever again.

Kill the spelling mistakes

Kill the spelling mistakes

If you saw a job application full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, you’d want to see it nearer the bin than the interview room. But spelling and grammar catch recruiters out, as well as jobseekers. If you want to give a professional impression from the start, spelling the word ‘job’ wrong (and it’s happened), will inevitably lose you potential candidates. If your ad is free from errors, the applicants will see that you’re serious about both the job and company. Even better, if they see no spelling mistakes, the candidates are likely to spellcheck their applications right down to the last apostrophe to impress you.

Write dynamically

Write dynamically

As well as being effective ways to get new staff, job ads are also an interview for recruiters. It’s all about promoting your company and telling jobseekers what you have to offer them so they want to work for you in the first place. Think of it as a form of promotion to attract a new client. Writing dynamically is important if you want to attract attention and make sure the best candidates aren’t put off applying; after all no one wants to work in a job that sounds tediously dull for a company that simply doesn’t care. You want to excite the reader, so always try and reflect the job using vibrant language to make it sound exciting (without lying or exaggerating of course), it’s bound to drum up interest and get candidates hitting the apply button.

Target your audience

Target your audience

Before you even start to write the job ad you need to think about what sort of audience you want to read it. Just like how your business has a target audience, so should your job ad. Want to fill a very junior role? Does the role require specific skills? Or are you more interested in work experience than qualifications? Then you need to reflect this in the ad, or you’ll end up with every candidate applying, and an intimidating pile of CVs landing on your desk. Whether you want to convey a light-hearted company with a sense of humour or more serious approach for a senior role, your ad needs to portray this. Get the tone right and be as specific as you can about the role so your target audience knows you’re talking to them.

Bullet lists for easy reading

Bullet lists for easy reading

To make sure your ad isn’t scanned over or even completely ignored, you should think about how people read on the internet; quite simply, nobody wants to read reams of text. By breaking up the ad you’ll not only stand out among the pages of other recruiters, but you’ll get your point across much better. Even if readers scan over your paragraphs, their eyes will fall on bullet points, so that’s where you need to put your most important information, including job duties and candidate specifications.

Putting the job duties and your candidate specifications into a bullet point or list form is important because it:

  • Attracts and keeps attention
  • Becomes easier to read and therefore understand.
  • Gives the candidate a handy checklist so they can see if it’s for them before they apply
  • Makes it stand out amongst the other job ads
  • Allows you to elaborate on parts of the role without confusing the reader.

See? This is a particularly useful method if the job you are advertising involves complicated tasks, as you can break it up and explain it more thoroughly without losing the reader’s attention.

Short paragraphs

Short paragraphs

Remember, you’re writing a job ad, not Crime and Punishment. You wouldn’t want to read pages and pages of an article if it was just paragraph after paragraph of sentences with no breaks; and neither will your audience. So keep your paragraphs short and sweet so they don’t switch off. If you’ve got a lot to say, use our previous hint about bullet points to break it up instead.

Make it easy to read

Make it easy to read

We’re not saying use nothing but exclamation marks or write everything in capitals, but by adding some of these simple touches, you’ll find the ad instantly becomes easier to read.

  • Lists and bullet points
  • Sub headings to separate intro to company, job duties and candidate specifications
  • Important points in bold

In addition, explain the job in the simplest terms possible; using big words or over-explaining the role might scare candidates off. Remember, you’ll have plenty of time to elaborate in the interview stages. Think of your ad as a covering letter; you want detail, but not pages and pages of it. Stick to these handy hints and your ideal candidate is sure to apply.

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