How To Write The Perfect Job Ad

Over the past few months, we’ve looked at many different ways of attracting young school leavers, students and graduates to not only apply for your job vacancies, but to also attract them into sticking around once you have employed them. Recruiting the best talent to your company can take up valuable time and money so you need to get it right. Whatever the position, be it full time careers or temporary student jobs, you need to attract the most suitable candidates for your job vacancy and, also, your company needs to be the best environment for your candidates.

So, in the past, we’ve talked about different ways of promoting your job vacancies online, we’ve considered interview questions and also looked at ways of improving your staff retention by offering employer perks that make your staff feel a valued part of the company. But what about that very first stage of actually letting everyone out there know that your company is looking for new staff?

Of course, this is where the perfect job ad comes in and, whatever the type and size of your company, clearly, you want to attract your next star employer to move the firm forward. Writing a perfect job ad is the very first step and it’s important to make it a worthwhile step – a quickly written job advert that hasn’t been well thought out can lead to a couple of possible outcomes:

  • You might get a flood of applications to read through – all from candidates who are unsuitable for the role you have on offer. Perhaps they don’t have the right qualifications or experience you are looking for. The candidates have no real information to go off and are applying blindly and for you, you are wasting time reading through application after application.
  • You might have a tumble-weed situation on your hands – Very few people – or even worse, no people – apply for your job vacancy. Well, if you haven’t taken the time to write an informative job advert, perhaps potential candidates are put off because they wonder if you are going to invest the time in them if they worked for you.

In the past, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, options for advertising job vacancies were limited to small newspaper ads or perhaps a quick post in a shop window. For newspaper ads, you were limited to a short word count depending on how much you wanted to pay and your job advert was very much based around that. These days, however, you have the beauty of online advertising – but so does everybody else, too. Your ad needs to stand out above all the others so that you attract the best young talent to your job vacancies. As well as visuals such as photos and videos, the wording around all that needs to be carefully thought out and well written so that job seekers know exactly the type of person you are looking for.

Top Tips For Writing A Perfect Job Ad

Tip Number 1 – Come up with a clear job title that also includes where that job will be based

What is the exact job vacancy you are advertising? You need to be clear and specific on this and treat your job title like a newspaper headline. If you are clear, potential candidates will know exactly what you are looking for and if they are interested in the position, they should continue reading.

These days, young people don’t want to have to scour through lots of irrelevant information and they could move onto the next job vacancy if they can’t find what they want from you. So if you have vacancies for student jobs in hotels for example, which hotel jobs are they? Are they seasonal or long term?

Also, where are your particular hotel jobs? If you are looking to recruit locally, a raft of applications from people all over the UK are of no use to you. And, if you are looking to recruit nationally, you can go into this in more detail in your job description.

So, “Hotel Jobs” could then become “Summer bar jobs – _____ Hotel, London.” And if you need to recruit lots of students for summer jobs, for example, then a catchy headline could really do the trick. “Calling all students…” And then you need to sell the position.

Tip Number 2 – Be clear and to the point in the rest of your job advert

Writing a great job advert is not about flowery prose. While you write the rest of your advert, stick to the point so that potential candidates know what you want from them. If you are going down the route of using clever, catchy language that you think might appeal to younger people, make sure it does appeal to them and doesn’t leave them wondering what the heck is going on. Make sure it matches the ethos and image of your company, too.

Tip Number 3 – Make sure your job advert flows

Being and clear and to the point is important – but it is also important to make sure all the information in your job advert flows in a logical way so that potential job applicants know exactly what you are offering. They should also know what they need to offer you in return.

If needs be, you can break your job description down into completely separate sections and use headings and bullet points to guide candidates easily through the nature of your job vacancy. This also makes it look easier on the eye and encourages those interested in your position to continue reading. One long, unbroken stream of writing can look daunting to many and you may put off potential young talent from reading on.

Tip Number 4 – Sell your company to the candidate

So you’ve captured the candidate’s interest with your clear, simple job title. Now you need to think about why students and young people would want to work for you over everyone else who is advertising job vacancies. Why are your summer jobs or part time jobs, for example, more attractive than those at other companies?

This is where you think about your job description and sell what is fantastic about your company. Maybe you’ve already got an existing team of young staff (possibly students) who love working for you. Do you offer any quirky company perks that are also offered to students or younger staff? Perhaps there’s a uniform or a clothing allowance included with the job or some specific training that could lead to apprenticeships or graduate roles. We considered employer perks as a way of attracting staff and retaining them in a previous post.

If you are advertising your job vacancies online via E4S, for example, we give you the space to highlight what is great about your company for particular vacancies.

Tip Number 5 – Expand on your job headline

So now, a potential candidate knows exactly what the job position is you are offering and they also know what a great company you are to work for because you have told them in the second part of your job ad. The next stage in how to write a job vacancy is to start to go into more detail about the role. Clearly, there is no one correct way to do this because each company has different expectations from, and duties for, their employees.

What is relevant for your company? If you are advertising summer bar jobs, for example, what are the exact duties of your bar staff? Will they work fixed shift patterns or are you looking for flexibility so that you can call on them at busier times? Will they be offered any training so that they can learn about the wider aspects of working in catering and hospitality? Is there a chance of a permanent job or promotion within the company? These days, lots of companies have a ‘promotion from within’ policy where staff are encouraged to work their way up. This can be attractive to students and school leavers alike, so include it when writing a job advert if that’s the type of thing your company could offer.

And let’s say you are recruiting nationally to fill vacancies at your company. If you are really looking for the best talent, not only do you need to sell the company to potential candidates, but if you are looking for someone to relocate, then you also need to sell your location to them.

Obviously, if your firm is in the middle of a large industrial estate or business park, although you can describe all the fantastic facilities there, this is not going to convince anyone to leave home. If you are offering jobs with accommodation, make sure you let candidates know this and also tell them about the local area and nearby attractions, as well as ease of commuting and neighbourhood facilities.

Tip Number 6 – Who do you want to apply for your job vacancies?

This is the part where you need to tell potential applicants exactly what you are looking for.

  • Are you looking for particular skills – perhaps with certificates or licenses to prove that candidates have those skills.
  • Are you looking for any particular qualifications such as a degree, A-Levels or industry-based qualifications that can be achieved in via Apprenticeships.
  • Are you looking for previous work experience in that field –  or a similar field – or is an enthusiasm for the post more than enough? Lots of students and young people are looking to get a foot in the door of the world of work and if you can offer them entry level jobs where they can gain a bit of experience (and perhaps training), emphasise this in your job description to attract more applications from them.
  • Are you looking for particular qualities in people? Able to work as part of a team, able to work under own initiative, do you need people who are friendly and outgoing and who can deal with your customers confidently?
  • Depending on  the nature of the vacancies you have, do you need people with their own transport or accommodation, candidates who are willing to travel around the UK or even go to work abroad occasionally?

Tip Number 7 – The Wage Or Salary

Applicants are going to want to know how much you are prepared to pay them in return for their hard work. Are employees paid weekly or monthly? Is it an hourly rate, is there commission or the opportunity to earn extra tips? This is all part of selling your role to candidates so even if the financial reward isn’t substantial (depending on the roles you are advertising), make sure you have sold the job to candidates. Perhaps the life experience and perks your job provides outweigh the possibility of a high salary. Summer activity camp jobs are an example of a situation like this.

Tip Number 7 – Never Forget The Call To Action

In any piece of writing, if the main aim of the piece it to encourage someone to do something, then you need a call to action and, certainly, with job vacancies, this is no different. It will be a wasted effort going through all the steps above and carefully writing your job description if there is no call to action at the end of it all.

Depending on the nature of your company, it could just be a direct ‘apply now’ call to action. For some companies it might be further direction with clear instructions of how to begin the application process by attending open days around the country or completing a preliminary form or attending recruitment dates. Whatever the case is for your company, it needs to be a direct and obvious call to action so that those students, graduates or school leavers who are interested in your vacancies know exactly what to do to take their application to the next stage.

Tip Number 8 – Time to proofread

Read through your job description. It might even be better to take a complete break from your writing task and return to it a day or two later so you can look it with a fresh pair of eyes.

Does your job advert reflect the ethos of company and does it attract the potential applicants you are looking for? If not, be ruthless and change it. If so, ask someone else within your company to read through it, too. You never know if you have missed something out – or perhaps that person could word something better than you have.

Teamwork on a piece of writing is invaluable so no need to take anything personally if someone else starts to suggest lots of changes. The eventual aim is to employ the best talent in your company and make sure they stick around for a while. Writing a job advert is the first step in achieving all of that.

Ask other people in your company to read through it, too. Would they apply for that job if they read your job description? Would they think your company looks like a great place to work?

Once everyone is happy…

And finally – Post your job advert

We’ve already discussed killer ways to promote your job vacancies online in a previous blog post and let’s assume you will be using online resources to get your job vacancy, or vacancies, out there so that you can find the best candidates.

When using E4S, you are given space to have a company profile where all of the information above can be included. Take a look at our typical audience – the type of visitors that come to E4S looking for work – and read our About Us page to find out more about our ethos, what we are trying to achieve and what other people have said about us. We know you will find E4S an effective way of advertising your job vacancies.

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