How to write an effective job advert

Written by: Chris McQuillan
Published on: 3 Feb 2020

Writing an effective job advert


Clear and concise job titles work best

Generic job titles attract more interaction than over engineered versions. When presented with several pages of search results, a jobseeker will typically scan for specific keywords. If your job title contains common phrases and keywords, your advert is several times more likely gain interest.

Ask yourself the question 'How likely is it that a jobseeker will type the job title I'm using into a search box?'.

In addition to using common search terms in the job title, include information helpful to the jobseeker. 'Customer Services' is a heavily searched phrase, however this can be further enhanced. 'Part Time Customer Service - Retail' brings in two further pieces of helpful information; incidentally both 'Part Time' and 'Retail' are also common search terms.

The best performing job titles tend to be between 30 and 60 characters in length. Avoid abbreviation; use 'Manager' instead of 'Mngr', 'Executive' and not 'Exec'.


Three things to include in the opening paragraph

Garner attention and create interest by making the opening paragraph enticing. Three things people like to see in the opening line are:

  • Job title
  • Location
  • Salary and key benefits

'Part Time Customer Service opportunity within this leading High Street retail brand, offering a basic salary of £20,000 plus bonus and benefits, based central Birmingham'.

Format the text to make it bold.


Make it benefits lead

Competing for the best talent in a candidate driven market means you have to put forward a compelling case as to why a jobseeker should want to work with your organisation. Remember, your competitors job advert is only a click away.  Having captured the jobseekers attention with a concise job title and an enticing opening line, solidify desire with a bullet point list of 'what's in it for them'.

Include, but don't limit the list to the usual benefits (attractive salary, bonus, pension and holidays), highlight other appealing points such as career progression, regular performance reviews, growing company etc.

Here's an example of the kind of 'benefits' to include:

  • Attractive basic salary of £25,000 pa
  • Team bonus scheme
  • Individual commission - uncapped 
  • Profit related pay scheme
  • Team incentive scheme
  • Annual salary reviews
  • Quarterly performance reviews
  • Personal development plan including structured training
  • Day off for your Birthday
  • Easily accessible by public transport (main bus route)
  • Free car parking
  • Subsidised canteen
  • Long established, successful, friendly team
  • Award winning training program
  • Company pension scheme
  • 25 days annual holiday, plus Bank Holidays


Be clear on your target audience

This is the section where you outline the ideal candidate, including the skills and experience you are most interested in. Try to keep the requirements as broad as possible and look to include people from all backgrounds.

This shouldn't be a list of 'musts and shoulds', you need to get the balance right between what is essential, desirable and what training you are willing to offer.

Bullet points tend to work well here.


About the role

Do not copy and paste a job description from your HR manual here!

Summarise the general aspects of the role and outline the key duties and responsibilities.  Elaborate on what training is available, for example 'You'll be a key point of contact within the company, handling internal enquiries regarding our bespoke software. Of course we'll train you in all aspects of the software, you'll be the go to person in no time at all'.

Outline how the role fits into your organisation, this will give the prospective employee an insight into the broader picture.


What makes your Company a great place to work

Finish your job advert with a bang!

If the reader has got to this stage, the chances are they are only moments away from hitting the apply button. Encourage them to apply by emphasising what's great about working for your organisation.

A good place to start is to remember what made you attracted to the Company when you applied.

Don't take the lazy way out here by copying and pasting the 'about us' section from your website.  Jobseekers will checkout your website anyway.

When talking about your Company, relate this back to the job vacancy and the person you are looking to attract.


And Finally...

The best performing job ads are between 750 and 1000 characters (not words) in length.  This represents four or five concise paragraphs.

Over 50% of jobseekers browse job boards using a mobile device.  Keep this in mind before being tempted to upload War & Peace.



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