Employers use job advertisements to attract candidates to apply to their current job openings. But writing strong and effective job advertisements that accurately describe the position and entice potential candidates to apply can be tricky, though.
As someone who has helped hundreds of businesses with their hiring needs by creating and marketing their job ads, here are my tips for writing strong job advertisements that will attract talented employees who will help your business grow.
What is a Job Ad or Job Posting?
A job ad (or advertisement) might refer to a specific form of marketing, such as a “now hiring” social media post or a paid radio commercial. A job posting or job listing might refer to a specific post on a job board like ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, or Indeed.
But typically, the terms job ad, job advertisement, job posting, and job listing often refer to the same thing and can be used interchangeably.
It is a short, concise description that a human resource manager or hiring manager uses to inform the public that the company is hiring for a position and what the job will entail. It includes details about the responsibilities and qualifications required to be successful in that role. It should also include information on how applicants can apply for the position.
Job ads are usually posted on online job banks, the company’s career page, or in the local newspaper’s classified section.
How is a Job Ad Different Than a Job Description?
The easiest way to differentiate between a job advertisement and a job description is to think about the target audience.
A job ad is designed to attract someone from outside of the company to apply for a job with the company. They tend to be written and formatted in the same way. Although they can vary in length, job ads should be concise and kept on the shorter side.
It may be the first thing a potential candidate reads about an employer.
A job ad should only be published and accessible to the public when there is a vacancy for that particular role.
A job description, on the other hand, is designed for the company’s internal staff.
A candidate may not see the full job description until they are offered the job. (Although these are sometimes shared publicly or are linked to in a job posting.)
Its primary purpose is to define the employer’s expectations of an employee once they’ve been hired. It will go into more detail on what they will be responsible for doing day-to-day.
Job adverts sell, job descriptions tell.
What Information and Details Do Job Ads Include?
A job posting will include information about the company, how to apply, what qualifications one needs for this particular position, and any other essential details such as salary range or specific working hours.
These details are necessary for people to know before applying.
When placing an ad looking for applicants with specific experience, employers can use the ad to provide more information on what this position entails and why it’s a good match for someone with that particular skill set.
Job advertisements should include:
- A clear job title that is something people would search for
- A short summary or description of the role
- The main day-to-day responsibilities
- The required skills, level of education, or years of experience an applicant should have
- What additional skills or experiences are preferred or “nice to have”
- The number of working hours or whether it’s full-time or part-time
- Information on how to apply to this position
- The application deadline date
- Compensation information such as the salary or hourly wage, and benefits like vacation time or health insurance
- A bit about the company and its mission and values
- Contact information for the recruiter with whom a job seeker can reach out and ask questions about this posting or position
What Makes a Job Advertisement Strong?
To write a strong and effective job advertisement, you’ll want to keep it concise while ensuring you include all the necessary information.
But you also want it to be enticing and appealing so that people will apply, which can be tricky.
An excellent way to start writing your advertising copy is by using the job description to define what this position will require. As mentioned, your job ad should be much shorter than the job description, so you’ll need to focus on the main responsibilities and qualifications.
The most important thing is that you provide a clear description of what the job entails, including the responsibilities and duties and things like benefits and other work perks offered.
You’ll also want to include what the company or organization stands for or what makes it unique. What does this company represent? How do you promote diversity, inclusion, and sustainability? These are all elements that will make someone excited about applying for a position with you.
Taking the time to write a strong job advertisement will help to avoid unqualified candidates applying and wasting your time.
The more transparent your job ad is, the better.
How Do You Best Advertise Your Job Opening?
Where you advertise your job is important, too.
Posting your job on major job sites like ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Monster, and CareerBuilder will help you reach a large audience of job seekers.
ZipRecruiter also includes templates and tools that will help you create a strong job ad, uses algorithms to invite qualified candidates to apply, and will add your listing to Google for Jobs and hundreds of other job boards. And trust me, you want your job posting to show up on Google if you want to get people applying!
But you also need to understand your target audience and the best way to get your ad in front of them. This is particularly true for any specialized role that might be harder to fill.
So, in addition to posting on a major job board, you may want to post your job on a targeted job board.
For example, suppose you’re advertising an engineering position. In that case, Engineering.com is the perfect place to post your ad. FlexJobs and its sister site Remote.co are great options if the successful applicant can work from home remotely.
You should also contact local employment agencies that have their own job boards and are already working with motivated job seekers.
And don’t forget to advertise the vacancy on social media, email lists, or even sending out flyers to a local community center, library, or college, depending on how many resources you have and who you are trying to reach.
What To Do If Your Job Ad Isn’t Working?
It’s best if your advertisement starts getting a response a few days after posting. It will confirm that the channel you used is the right one, and you are going to get qualified and experienced candidates applying for the position.
But what if no one is applying? Or the wrong, unqualified people are applying?
It’s important not to give up on any recruitment efforts too soon. It can take time for qualified people to see your advert and submit their resumes.
Check for Errors
If you don’t see any response after a few days, first ensure that all of the application information is included in the posting and is correct. It could be a minor error like a typo in the email address or a broken link that is the issue.
Where Are You Advertising?
The reason why you are not getting applications for the position could be because you’re not reaching the right people.
Start assessing where you are advertising your job. Are you placing ads in the right places? Do they have a high enough readership to get more applicants than other adverts from competitors?
Try advertising in more places. Post it on another job board or two, create a new social media ad, or place an ad in the newspaper.
Consider advertising to different audiences, such as women or ethnic minority groups, to get a more diverse range of applicants. This approach can also help with diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Re-Think Your Ad
If you have tried all channels and are still not getting applicants or qualified candidates for your position, it might be time to re-think aspects of your job advertisement. You may need to make changes in order to appeal more to specific demographics such as education level, experience, or desired salary. Or change the advertisement design.
When you find that the wrong people are applying for the job, go back to your advert and check your descriptions.
You may need to clarify or assess what exact qualifications and level of education an applicant requires versus what is preferred.
Maybe you wrote something that everyone is misinterpreting? Ensure it is written in simple English while avoiding any industry jargon, buzzwords, or acronyms that may confuse readers.
It is crucial to be honest about what you’re looking for in a person for the position, but you need to be flexible. You can easily teach some job skills to your new staff members after they join your team.
Mistakes to Avoid With Your Job Advertisements
Remember, the goal of job ads is to get the right applicant to apply for the position. The details included in the job ad may be all they know about the role and the company before applying.
These are some of the mistakes you want to avoid when writing a job ad.
1. Too Much Detail
This can be a problem if potential candidates have to go through too many details. They may give up on applying if it’s too overwhelming or too specific. Save those details for the job description.
Stay focused on only what is needed to entice them enough to want more information about the company while creating an interest in the opportunity.
2. Not Enough Detail
As the employer, you want to know if applicants are qualified enough for your job opening and what skill sets they possess. Not including enough details about the job will leave a lot of questions unanswered.
You need information about them before deciding whether or not this is a good fit for both parties.
3. No Description of the Company
Potential candidates may get enticed by a job opportunity and have all the qualifications but lose interest because there’s no detail about the company itself.
People care about who they work for, so include details about your company, especially if it’s a new business or a start-up. This can consist of the location, the industry, background information on the company’s history, or who the company serves.
4. Timelines Are Too Short
It may seem as though everything happens instantly online, but the reality is it takes time for search engines like Google to pick up newly published content, including job posts.
People also need time to perfect their resumes and write a cover letter when they see something they want to apply to.
If your job post is only active for 3-5 days, you may not be giving people or technology enough time.
5. Not Currently Hiring
As a job seeker, applying to a job only to learn that the company isn’t actually hiring is incredibly frustrating. People will see that as confusing or dishonest, and this can ruin their opinion of your organization.
Don’t make the mistake of forgetting or neglecting to take down your advertisements once the position is filled. And don’t be too eager to post a job before it’s actually available, either.
How to Filter Through Your Applicants
Chances are that many people will apply to your job posting. Maybe too many.
Some will have the right qualifications and experience, while others will have the right skills but don’t meet the criteria you set.
Filtering through these applicants can be tedious and time-consuming, especially for businesses that don’t have an HR department.
Carefully writing your job ad will help.
Otherwise, you can use a platform like ZipRecruiter to make the hiring process faster and easier. In addition to being one of the world’s top job posting sites, ZipRecruiter can screen candidates for you as well as send targeted matches to your job posting.
If you aren’t getting people applying or attracting the candidates you were hoping for, you can also search through their resume database and invite qualified people to apply.
As an employer, you need to ask yourself what your desired qualifications are for someone joining your team. It should include the experience and skills required for this position and other factors that may be important to you, such as education or relevant experience. You then need to decide how much information is too little or too much when placing a job ad.
Filling a position in your company will take time and a lot of effort from you. You need to have strong job advertisements and promote them in different channels to get the right person for this position.
Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.