How to write the perfect job ad

If you’re having trouble finding good applications, perhaps the problem is not the jobseeker market, but that your job ad isn’t standing out enough or clearly communicating what the role entails.

In fact, last year’s Job Seeker Report by JobGetter saw 40 per cent complain about the state of job advertisements, citing incomplete or unclear descriptions of the role. Job seekers want to know exactly what the job entails and what skills and qualifications the employer wants in order to better ascertain if they will be a good fit for the job.

Of those who use company career pages, 84 per cent found them useful, however the majority of respondents wanted them to include more information. Specifically, 81 per cent wanted to know the precise skills and qualifications required for each position, 64 per cent wanted more information about the types of roles the company had, 58 per cent wanted to know more about the career paths on offer and 50 per cent wanted to know about the employee benefits.

This indicates that job seekers want more information in order to strategise and educate themselves about what their target employers look for as well as ascertain if the employer is in fact a good fit for them and their desired career path.

A few, quickly-written sentences or an ad that starts with all about you/your company just doesn’t cut it in today’s job market. Your job ad should speak to the candidate you want to attract and sell them on the opportunity to work with you.

Follow these quick tips to get your job ads to attract the best applicants:

  1. Write compelling headlines that promote a key benefit and grab attention.
  2. Put the “What’s in it for the job seeker” right up top.
  3. Swap job ad jargon for plain English and provide enough detail to allow job seekers to imagine themselves in the role.
  4. Sell the sizzle, but be specific so you attract the right applicants.
  5. Make it a team effort and get your existing employees to contribute a message to their future co-worker.
  6. Put yourself in the job seeker’s shoes, what would you want to know?

In addition, your job ad should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Why is this role interesting?
  • What challenges will there be?
  • Describe the kind of person that would be successful in this role.
  • What do you expect them to achieve?
  • Who will they be working with?
  • What environment will they be working in?
  • Who will they become?
  • Why is their role important?

Quick thought-starters for writing great job ads

Who is this opportunity best suited for?

Eg. If you’re looking for a job _____, provides you with _____ and that gives you a chance to _____, then keep reading.  We’re looking for ….

Describe the kind of person who would enjoy and appreciate this job opportunity:

Eg. If you love _____ and get satisfaction out of _____ then you’ll love working as part of our team.

Describe the team dynamic and who they’ll be working with:

Eg. Our team is always _____ .  You’ll be primarily working with _____ who (describe their best qualities, strengths, interests, etc especially in terms of what a co-worker would appreciate)

What do they have to look forward to? What will they be doing day-to-day?

Eg. Your days will be filled with _____ as you _____, _____ and _____.

What opportunities will this job/company provide for the candidate?  What’s in it for them?

People often want more than just a pay cheque, and you want those people so tell them what the other benefits are.

Fiona Anson and Alli Baker, Co-Founders, JobGetter


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