Writing effective job announcements requires satisfying three major goals. First, your ad must catch attention in a crowded job market. Next, your wording should be compelling enough to attract qualified candidates, while including details that weed out those you don't want. Also, remember that an ad is your company's calling card. A well-written posting prompts a job seeker to choose your ad first, because he sees himself working there, not for your competitor.
Avoid buzzwords that offer no insight about the job. Catch phrases like "ninja" and "rockstar wanted" -- or variations like "work hard, play hard" -- won't help applicants decide if their abilities fit the job posting, notes the human resources and recruiting website ERE.net. Instead, describe the company's products and services, followed by a summary of the job duties and the expectations for successful candidates.
Catch Attention Immediately
Choose a job title that appears prominently in online searches and inspires candidates to continue reading the ad. For example, rather than advertise for a regular truck-driving job, start the ad by writing, "Truck Driver, Best Trucks, Best Boss," recommends recruitment services website BirdDogJobs. Expect to change the title, too, depending on how many resumes you attract.
Detail Your Requirements
Spell out your desired levels of education and work experience. Briefly outline why your company is a great place to work, but focus on the most relevant details. Give an overview of the job duties and whether the new employee will work alone or as part of a team. Include factors that prompted the vacancy, like a new project. Though employers often shy away from it, consider stating your proposed salary range to help attract higher quality applicants.
Establish Screening Criteria
Add special instructions or prerequisites to screen out unqualified candidates. For example, if email is your preferred medium, say you'll only read resumes with a predetermined word or phrase in the subject line. Otherwise, you can assume the applicant didn't follow directions, and delete it. Highlight any further conditions -- like prior experience or a willingness to work on commission -- that applicants must meet. Also include your company's location to eliminate prospects who don't live in the area or won't commute there.
Explain Your Application Process
Determine how candidates will contact you. If the company lacks an automated application process, create an email address for that purpose. Otherwise, you risk accidentally deleting or losing resumes from internal email boxes. Specify other response methods like faxes, phone calls or regular mail. Screen the ad copy for references to age, gender and physical characteristics, or language that violates other employment laws. For example, you can't require a valid driver's license if the job doesn't call for travel.
- America's Job Exchange: How to Write a Great Job Posting
- Kansas State University: Writing the Well-Designed Position Announcement
- The Bridgespan Group: Writing the Job Description
- The University of Maine: Tools and Forms for Filling Salaried (Professional) Positions -- Tips for Writing a Job Announcement
Ralph Heibutzki's articles have appeared in the "All Music Guide," "Goldmine," "Guitar Player" and "Vintage Guitar." He is also the author of "Unfinished Business: The Life & Times Of Danny Gatton," and holds a journalism degree from Michigan State University.