Good copy, bad copy (or, how the same job can be written in two totally different ways. One alluring, the other bland)

Today I am going to demonstrate two different ways of posting the same job on the web. The first way is the all too common lazy one where a recruiter simply cuts and pastes the job description and top and tails it with a bit about the client and a response mechanism. The other way is the right way, and that is, instead of cut and pasting it, to take the information from the job description and craft it into a bit of copy that not only flows, but reaches out to potential candidates and really sells the role.

Have a look at the two pieces of copy below. Notice the huge difference between them, both in length of copy and tone? One's a dull and boring list with little or no allure, whilst the other talks to the candidate on a personal basis and tells them exactly what's in it for them. In short, it sells the job rather than just goes through the motions.


Technical Advisor
Good salary + car Kent
My client iare looking for a Technical Adviser.The Technical Adviser reports to Technical Support Manager. Member of the Technical Advisory Team, providing technical advice including the accurate calculations relating to the use and loading of glass. Maintenance of the Company’s technical communication database, library and the production of reports and advisory documents, as and when required distribute to key personnel. Regularly communicate technical information to internal and external customers, members of the Sales Team and other staff as required and advise on the implications and alternative possibilities.


On a daily basis, to deal with technical enquiries relating to the use of glass in buildings from external and internal customers

Develop positive relationships with customers at all levels and become a valuable asset to their day to day operations.

Providing training/presentations in technical matters for external and internal customers to a sufficiently high standard for Architectural practices

On a regular basis, providing technical information to the Sales Department, both internally and externally in order to assist with the support of the customer base

Attend and present at appropriate training courses in informal and formal situations both internally and externally, as requested.

Communicate effectively at all levels, both verbally and in writing

Improve customer service and support to the optimum levels

Using technical information and drawings, ensure technical information supplied results can be applied to current Building Regulations and Standards

Actively contribute to the continuous improvement process and the ongoing development of a Total Quality Management culture by, for example, changing behaviour and identifying and implementing improvements to processes and activities, and encourage others to do the same

Ensure the provision of a safe and secure working environment, in keeping within legal requirements

Any other ad hoc tasks which may be required from time to time.


· Graduate calibre

· Scientific/technical/construction/engineering background

· Experience of mechanical or structural design calculations

· Ability to interpret technical drawings and data

· Excellent communications skills, both written and verba
· Ability to work as a team member within a small busy team

· Excellent IT skills

· The desire to learn and develop knowledge of the use of glass in buildings over the long term

· scientific or architectural or engineering degree.

· 3 years in a similar role in the glass processing, glazing, curtain walling industry or building industry

· Knowledge of relevant Building Regulations, British and European Standards

· Full UK Driving Licence

· Customer service and support experience

· Flexible approach and prepared to travel at short notice

To apply, please contact etc. etc. etc.


Technical Advisor

£competitive + car + benefits Maidstone, Kent

My client, a global player in industrial manufacturing, is looking for an ambitious individual to train as Technical Advisor for their float glass and fabricated glass products.

A key member of their Technical Advisory team, your extensive training will enable you to provide advice to colleagues, as well as customers in the building and construction industries, on all aspects of the use of glass. They'll also count on you to maintain a technical communication database and library and produce regular reports and advisory documents for key personnel.

On a daily basis, you’ll deal with an array of technical enquiries relating to the use of glass in buildings and develop positive relationships with customers at all levels. Indeed, you’ll become an invaluable asset to their day-to-day operations. Providing training/presentations in technical matters to a standard high enough for architectural practices will be important too, as will helping the sales team out by providing technical information that supports their customer base. In short, you’ll educate and inform and help take our client's customer service and support to their optimum levels.

A graduate with a scientific/ technical/ construction/ engineering background, you already have some experience of a manufacturing business and are familiar with mechanical or structural design calculations. What’s more, you know how to interpret technical drawings and data and are interested in learning and developing knowledge of the use of glass in buildings. And, as well as being comfortable meeting customers face-to-face, you’ll need the verbal communication skills it takes to inform others about products in an easy to understand way.

To apply for this interesting, varied and challenging role working with one of the industry's major players, call Joe Bloggs today, or send your CV, along with a covering letter saying why this is the role for you, to....

Advertising isn't just about posting up one job. It's about a whole perception of an organisation. And, you only get one chance to make a good first impression! So, from now on, if you don't do so already, why not make sure your job advertising copy really hits the mark rather than coming up short? Remember, a job description is not a sales tool, it's merely a checklist of duties, skills and experience. To truly sell the job, you need to craft the copy, not just go through the motions.

Views: 323

Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on September 20, 2010 at 9:09am
I think in this market people would apply to both...
Comment by Marcia Bateman on September 20, 2010 at 11:16am
I think most jobs posted need more "sizzle" so I really like your article. Short and to the point gets more attention from potential candidates as well..
Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on September 20, 2010 at 6:50pm
I believe top-talent would be more attracted to the second version. It really doesn't take much time or effort to produce a posting this way. Answering a few simple questions should cover the essential points.

For example:

1) How or where does the position fit into the company and why does it exists?
2) What core knowledge, skills and abilities would typically be expected to perform in the role, why?
3) Describe the essential functions, key competencies and success factors that will determine effectiveness.

Perhaps many people will still apply to the dull, bland and lazy posting, but those who are seeking a certain level of professionalism might be more inclined to pay closer attention to the posts that tell a story vs. simply listing data and requirements.
Comment by Charles Van Heerden on September 20, 2010 at 10:45pm
Hi Alasdair, though both copies would attract fully agree with Kelly that good talent are looking for more.

Adding a few bullet points after the heading can also be very effective:
- Global Company
- Customer Support
- etc

Most copy is still boring, particularly when done by internal recruiters. At best it is a cut and paste job using a previous ad as a template, and at worst a skinny version of the job description.
Comment by Alasdair Murray on September 21, 2010 at 3:50am
I think Kelly hits the nail on the head when she says top talent would be more attracted to the second version. We all know it's tough out there and that any ad is likely to generate response but it's the kind of response that counts. Just as with other life decisions like buying a house or a car or choosing a holiday, most people like to be a bit discerning. They need to be allured, to have some kind of attraction to the proposition. A cut and pasted job description is notification that a job exists, but that's all it is and all it ever will be.
Comment by Alasdair Murray on September 21, 2010 at 1:33pm
..unless you're recruiting for a drummer for the Smashing Pumpkins or, I don't know, maybe a real life ninja :)


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