Be honest, is this you? You’ve done the hard work. A candidate has found your job advert either on a job board or on your careers website. You’ve got them. They are yours for the taking. So what do you do? You deliver them an uninspiring set of bullet points all about what you are looking for. What an opportunity missed. All because you simply cut and pasted the job description onto the site and failed to think about what the candidate was actually looking for.

Now I appreciate that you may be short on time and needed to get the advert live as soon as you could. But I truly believe that by taking the time to write a compelling and inspiring job advert you will end up with better quality applications. And that is worth the extra thirty minutes you’ll spend on it. And we hope that this little guide to writing a compelling job advert will help.

Assume nothing

According to The Candidate Experience Awards, 48% of applicants have no previous relationship with your company. Some may not have even heard of your company when they see your job advert. So start with knowing the basics: who you are, what you do, what makes you special and why they should want to work for you. We are going to weave this into the advert.

Make your job searchable

If you want your job advert to be found, then you need to make sure that your job title is something that people will search for. Avoid words like ‘Ninja’, ‘Guru’ or ‘Jedi’. Stick closely to industry standard terms that you know job seekers will be searching for.

Some job seekers will browse for jobs by category as opposed to searching by job title, so make sure that you have listed it correctly against the correct category. And while you’re at it why not sense check the categories on your website. Are they clear and intuitive? Are they designed to help a job seeker or just reflect the structure of your business? If it is the latter, we’d recommend you change it.

If you like it then you should have put a salary on it

So few job adverts have the salary on them. Why? Are you embarrassed? Have you even checked that it is competitive? It is really important to a job seeker. It is one of the top things they are looking for. It is how they judge the seniority of the role. More importantly if your competitors aren’t doing it, then by simply showing the salary you have a competitive advantage.

Location, location, location

When job seekers are searching for jobs they already know how far they are willing to travel and so will be looking at specific towns or cities. So be specific with your location. Don’t think that by listing a geographically diverse location your job will appear in more searches and appeal to more candidates – the opposite is true. The clever tech behind job search engines and job boards means vacancies with very precise locations, appear in searches for not just that place, but the region it’s in, as well as the UK.

Writing the advert

A job description is not a job advert. A job description is a legal obligation. A job advert is a beautifully sculpted piece of employer marketing. Think like a job seeker. What do they want to know? How can we make it easy to read on screen? How can we avoid boring them to tears? From the conversations that we have had with job seekers the key is delivering content in an easily digestible way. And that doesn’t mean bullet points.

Use headings. These will help structure your job advertisement. Job seekers are likely to be skim-reading dozens of job adverts in a single session, so give your company the best chance to make an impression.

Tell them about the job. But make it personal. Use language like ‘you’, ‘your’ and ‘yours’ as opposed to ‘we’, ‘us’ and referring to the company name. The job seeker is looking at your company and the role is going to have a positive impact on their life. They’re also looking for some idea of where this job could take them. So why not tell them?

Be clear on what you are looking for. Many job seekers want you to describe what a great employee would look like. Be explicit. The right candidate will be able to recognise themselves from your description and should be inspired to apply.

Structuring the job advert

So what does a perfect advert look like? Well, it is likely to vary from job board to job board, so you may want to familiarise yourself with the ones you use most regularly. Find out how their search engines work and how the advert appears in the search results as well as the full advert, and whether they look different on a smartphone.

But as a rule of thumb, we like this structure:

  • Job title
  • Location
  • Salary
  • Job summary
  • About the role
  • About you
  • Reward and benefits
  • About the company
  • Application process
  • Call to action

You could even use these as headings. They will allow the job seeker to quickly jump to the section that they are most interested in.

A simple little check list

So there you have it. Nothing ground breaking. Mostly it’s good old common sense. And I am sure you’ll agree – pretty straight forward. But if that is the case, why are we seeing so many uninspiring job adverts? So, next time you write a job advert, why not ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the job title adequately describe the job? Is it crystal clear to the outside audience?
  • Does the copy tell the job seeker what they need to know? Do we have enough filters to discourage unsuitable people from applying?
  • Is all the information relevant?
  • Are we presenting the company – and the role – in an attractive light?
  • Is the copy clear, concise and appealing? Are we using the words ‘you’, ‘your’ and ‘yours’?
  • Is the application process clear?
  • Would the advert inspire me to apply?

And that’s that, all the elements that make up a well crafted, highly targeted and, most importantly of all, interesting and readable job advert. Feel inspired? We hope so.

If you’d like to discuss how we could help you write better job adverts or even train your team to, then please contact Mark Beavan at