Employment advertising tips

Writing good employment advertising copy


The goal of writing an employment advertisement is usually to attract all possible applicants whom you might be interested in, without attracting those people whom you would not be interested in, (and without being discriminatory!).

However, the best prospective employees are likely to be busy so you may be competing for their attention. One thing in your favour is that the people reading the Jobs In Planning bulletin have opted to receive it, so you know they have some level of interest, but your aim should be to grab their attention as soon as possible in your advertisement.

Be mindful of the market conditions. Good people are always in demand, so put some effort into your advert to make it a little different.

Structure your advert

Obviously your advertisement will have a title. This is usually the job title. If it is, make sure it accurately reflects the nature and level of position, (otherwise consider using a different title). Also consider a "grab line". A short statement about the position intended to grab the attention of the audience.

Unless you are an organisation at the top of your field and widely recognised as "the place to work"  then we would advise against identifying yourself (employer or recruitment firm) in the title or at the beginning of the advertisement. Many people have pre-conceived impressions of particular organizations or may have a negative view of working in a particular sector of the industry (such as private vs public sector). Remember, you want people to read your advert before they decide whether or not they are interested.

The body of your advert should describe your organization (the employer) and the positive aspects of the work environment. Obviously you should state the location of the job, but you may also consider expanding on this if the location may be an attraction.

This should be followed with a description of the position or "opportunity" and the major responsibilities, (particularly the more interesting responsibilities!). Unless you can be sure there will be no ambiguity in the full PD (position description), we suggest not including the full PD in the advertisement. This can be provided separately before an formal application is made or discussed at interview stage. It is however, worth mentioning in the advert any factors which are unusual, such as a significant amount of travel.

Then state the selection criteria. This should be "tightened"or "loosened" depending on the response you expect. If demand exceeds supply, cast a wider net! Avoid including any specific qualifications or professional body membership that are not mandatory. Some people have a tendency to rule themselves out.

Discuss the rewards. This need not necessarily include salary figures (it can be left open for negotiation), but should mention any other benefits and attractions such as training, personal development and opportunities for career progression. If it is available, mention relocation allowance for applicants from interstate and/or overseas.

Contact details - Make it easy to apply!  Avoid making applicants "jump through hoops" to access more information about the job or submit an application. Make sure there is a contact name on the advertisement and if at all possible, provide an email address for enquiries and/or applications.

Good candidates will be reluctant to submit their CV to an anonymous contact, with no means of following up on their application. The best candidates often want to discuss a position before applying, either by email or telephone.

If you point applicants to your web site, make sure the link works and the job/position description is easily found on your web site.

Choose your language carefully. You are hoping to attract intelligent, tertiary qualified professionals. Poor grammar and spelling mistakes are unforgivable!

Alias email service - If you are concerned about publishing your email address, we can offer an alias address, free of charge, which will be live only for the duration of your job advertisement on our web site and will automatically forward email to your nominated email address.

Other tips
Promote your job by emphasizing the positive attributes of your organisation as an employer and your geographical location. Be sure to highlight any benefits which might differentiate you from other competing employers. Mention career advancement prospects if they exist.

Unless you genuinely expect your advertisement to generate a huge response, be careful not to over qualify the advertisement.

Salary - unless you know you are offering a very competitive salary by current market standards, or unless you are required to do so, we recomment that you do not mention the salary levels in the advertisement.

Make yourself aware of the law. Discrimination is unpopular, and it's illegal!

When you have finished your ad, ask yourself, "would this get my attention?"  and  "would I apply?" 

Make your advertising count!
At best a poor ad will simply be a waste of your money and time. At worst it will damage your employment brand and make it more difficult to attract the people you need.

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