Do you see writing job ad copy as a bit of a chore? Something that you put off until the last possible minute and then hastily throw together with more than a little apprehension or doubt? Use this simple nine step guide and you’ll soon get used to a formulaic running order that will make writing copy that much easier in the future.
1) THE JOB TITLE – Start off by asking yourself is the job title an industry recognised standard or something that your client uses internally? If it’s the latter, it may sound impressive but it won't show up in search results so it's worth considering changing it.
2) SALARY – Mention a specific figure or describe it as a competitive package, the choice is yours. People prefer seeing exactly what they are going to get, so if it’s big bucks shout about it. If it’s so-so, maybe play safe and call it a competitive package. You can always sell the organisation and the benefits they offer over and above salary later on.
3) LOCATION – Self-explanatory. Along with a recognised job title, location is one of the most common search terms.
4) A BRIEF INTRO – Most searches reveal the start of the ‘body copy” of an advertisement, thus a brief teaser that gives readers a flavour of the role will enhance your chances of the advertisement being read. For example “An outstanding opportunity for a qualified Accountant to make their mark with one of the UK’s leading retailers, the role of (job title here) will see you....” will show up in a search result and encourage people to find out more.
5) A SHORT PARA ABOUT THE CLIENT – Mention some selling points about the company without (assuming the advertisement is running 'blind') making it obvious who your client is. E.g.“Our client, a long established xyz renowned for abc and def, is (NOT 'are') still growing etc”. Remember though – be honest. Don’t make any claims you can’t substantiate. Every organisation has a USP or two. Use them.
6) THE MAIN BODY OF THE AD - ABOUT THE ROLE – What will this person be doing? Don’t mention everything, just enough of the main duties to make it sound like a varied and appealing role. Maybe start this para with a bit of oomph that follows on from the previous one about the client e.g. “Right now, they are looking for a (mention the job title again here) to….”
7) HERE'S WHERE YOU ENSURE YOU GET GOOD CANDIDATES – A PARA ABOUT THE PERSON – This is where you can ‘screen out’ unqualified applicants by being specific about the skills and experience you’re looking for i.e. “To succeed, you’ll need…” mention professional qualifications and experience (in the UK it is best not to mention the number of years' experience unless you can prove that it is strictly necessary in order to do the role. Otherwise it goes against employment legislation) plus some of the ‘soft skills’ your client wants like networking, communication, numeracy, eye for detail etc. You’ll always get people applying for roles beyond their experience, but you can limit the number of them by being specific about the experience and qualities you’re seeking.
8) ABOUT THE BENEFITS – What’s on offer? Apart from salary is there a pension scheme? Free membership of a gym? On site parking? Season ticket loan? A decent amount of holiday entitlement? If it sounds like a decent benefit, mention it.
9) A CALL TO ACTION - Reiterate what a good opportunity it is and then make the application process simple.
Follow this simple formula and it won't make you a good writer overnight, but you'll develop a better pattern and a flow to your ads. After all, people really aren't turned on by cut and pasted job descriptions.