Want to write your own job advert but not sure where to start? We’ve been writing adverts for ten years, so we’ve decided to share some of the things we’ve learned during that time to help you create a compelling job advert that will rank highly when posted on job boards, attract the best candidates, and help you quickly filter the wheat from the chaff.
Now, we don’t want to waste any of your time, so we’ll get straight to it. (After all, advertising jobs is not rocket science, if we can do it reasonably well, so can you!). Here’s a few of our top tips to help you write better adverts and attract more candidates to your vacancy or careers page. Happy reading. (You can also download the free PDF by clicking the button above.)
1. It’s all about the first 50
Yep, that’s right, the first 50 words are the most important when writing an advert that’s going to be published on a job board like Monster, Reed.co.uk or CV Library.
Why? Well, job boards rank your vacancy based on a simple algorithm. This algorithm will quickly score your vacancy’s relevance against a candidate’s search criteria.
Bear in mind, a job board like CV Library will get something like 40,000 jobs posted on it every week so it needs to find a way to put them in some sort of order.
If you don’t pack the first paragraph with all the information the job board needs to decide if it’s relevant against a candidate’s search, your advert will get lost among the thousands of other adverts posted online that week.
Now, candidates will ALWAYS search for jobs within a given sector, say, ‘Customer Service’, and within ‘X’ miles from ‘X’ postcode, town or city.
Therefore, to ensure your advert ranks above other, similar adverts when posted online, it is important to include the following in the first 50 words or so…
1.1 Job title
Simple one this, but repeating the job title once (or twice) in the very first paragraph is good practice. With more than 40,000 vacancies posted on a popular job board like Reed.co.uk, Monster, CV Library, or Totaljobs every week, without a relevant job title, job boards will not know which candidates to serve your advert to and, therefore, candidates won’t find it.
1.2 Location. Location. Location
No job advert will rank well on a job board unless you’re specific about its location, as a candidate’s job search is always location-centric; they search for jobs within ‘X’ miles of where they live. So write where the role is based in the very first paragraph.
Candidates will search for jobs within a specific salary range, so make your advert more relevant by mentioning the salary in the first one or two sentences; the job board’s algorithms will recognise and reward this, and present your advert to candidates over adverts that don’t have a salary range.
1.4 Sell. Sell. Sell
Now you’ve mentioned the job title, location and salary, the technical stuff is complete (your advert should rank reasonably well online), so use the rest of the first paragraph to sell your company and the opportunity to the candidate. It’s important to make your business sound AWESOME.
Example – A fully optimised (totally awesome) first paragraph!
Due to growth, a fantastic opportunity is available for an experienced Sales Manager to join one of the UK’s leading suppliers of aluminium windows and bi-fold doors. Based at the award-winning company’s headquarters in Stockport, the successful Sales Manager will earn £32,000 to £36,000 dependent on experience, in addition to uncapped commission, plus company car, iPad, and pension scheme.
2. Sell the opportunity
Okay, so we’ve got the first paragraph nailed, which will help a job board like Monster understand how relevant your vacancy is to a job seeker on their website, and therefore determine how well it performs when posted online. Now that’s done, it’s all about selling the vacancy to the candidate, so they ACTUALLY apply.
There’s no hard and fast rules here, but put yourself in a candidate’s shoes and consider what you’d want to know before applying for a job. And remember to use language that’s upbeat and interesting, and reflects your company’s brand or personality – there’s a big difference between a job description and a job advert!
- Job description = a boring list of boring responsibilities and boring tasks that the (probably boring) candidate you hire will be accountable for once they get the job and start work.
- Job advert = an interesting overview of the position and the opportunity, detailing what the candidate will get up to day-to-day, what the company is like to work for, and why they should apply.
2.1 Make it engaging
Use positive language that will engage a candidate and keep them reading. For example, instead of writing: you will be responsible for a team of six. Write: this is a fantastic opportunity to manage a small but enthusiastic team of six, and develop as a leader within a supportive environment that champions personal development.
2.2 Be clear and concise
We recommend you write a paragraph on the role, and what the candidate will get up to, and then, for clarity, write a bulleted list of the main responsibilities. This breaks up the advert’s text and makes it much easier to read and digest for a candidate, while allowing you to get all the main aspects of the role across.
2.3 Who do you want to hire?
Once you’ve described the role, throw in a paragraph about what you’re looking for in a candidate. What specific experience or qualifications should they have, what type of character should they possess? For sales, you want someone ambitious and driven. Hiring an accountant? You need someone with an eye for detail that’s able to prioritise their workload…
Due to growth, a fantastic opportunity is available for an experienced Sales Manager to join one of the UK’s leading suppliers of aluminium windows and bi-fold doors. Based at the award-winning company’s headquarters in Stockport, the successful Sales Manager will earn £32,000 to £36,000 dependent on experience, in addition to uncapped commission, plus company car, iPad and pension scheme.
Reporting to the Managing Director, the successful Sales Manager will work on large build projects, liaising directly with architects and project managers while managing a small but enthusiastic team of six, developing as a leader within a vibrant and supportive working environment that champions personal development. As Sales Manager, your core responsibilities will include:
- Lead, coach, manage and motivate a team of sales executives, acting as a role model for the sales team
- Set challenging yet achievable sales targets for sales executives and monitor/report performance against KPIs
- Generate new leads, identify tendering opportunities and creating sales opportunities through proactive communication and networking
- Secure new contracts which meet the needs of clients and generate profit for the business inline with agreed pricing and margin thresholds
- Working with internal and external partners, to deliver effective co-ordination of all sales-related activities across the board
- Attend exhibitions, conferences and tradeshows as a professional representative the company
Ambitious and driven, with demonstrable experience within the construction sector, the successful Sales Manager will possess the following skills and experience:
- Superb communicator and promoter, able to quickly establish rapport and build relationships based on trust and sound judgment
- Demonstrable success in creating and executing sales campaigns and delivering against sales targets
- Experience of people management and, more importantly, strong leadership
- Entrepreneurial, innovative and adaptable approach in dealing with problems
TOP TIP: Notice we’ve used the job title ‘Sales Manager’ a few times within the advert. This is deliberate, aimed at helping the job board’s algorithm understand what this advert is all about, so it will hopefully jump up the job board’s rankings. The better you optimise your advert for specific keywords like this, the more likely it is that job seekers will actually see it. And the more that see it, the better.
3. Create a ‘call to action’
At the end of every great job advert is a strong call to action, to ensure candidates know what you expect them to do in order to process their application.
As a rule of thumb, the easier you make it for a candidate to apply, the more responses you’ll receive. However, you can also use your call to action to screen candidates.
3.1 Ask for a covering letter to screen candidates
A classic call to action is to ask for covering letter in addition to their CV. This sorts the wheat from the chaff, because if they take the time to write a tailored letter, referencing your job advert and the character/experience you’re looking for, it says a lot about them.
Likewise, if they write a generic, dull covering letter, or don’t bother submitting one at all, you can discount them for being bone idle.
For some technical roles (writers, designers, web developers, etc.) it’s worth asking for a portfolio of their previous work. Just as a covering letter will demonstrate their appetite for the opportunity, a portfolio will do the same, while giving you an idea of their capability.
Example – The call to action
If you’re interested in the Sales Manager in Stockport position, please submit a covering letter in addition to your CV detailing your specific experience, and telling us why you believe you are the right candidate for this role.
TOP TIP: Drop in the job title and location in this paragraph again to ensure your advert ranks highly when posted on a job board.
That’s it, we told you it wasn’t rocket science. If you don’t have time to write your own job advert, or just want some advice, get in touch and we’ll do our best to help you. Call: 0161 300 7235 or email firstname.lastname@example.org