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Write a Winning Job Ad: Pro Tips to Stand Out

David Law

Fri, 1 Mar, 2019


David Law

  • Reading Time:
    ~ 3 minutes

Today’s market is saturated: with jobs, with people looking for jobs, with information and mindless facts. The results: it can be difficult to find the perfect candidate to fill a role. And, if you don’t write an incredibly good brief for the position, chances are it won’t stand out.

You don’t need to fret, however, as there are a few simple steps that you can take to make your job brief the stuff of legends. Will this formula guarantee in a multitude of applicants at your door? Not necessarily’ but it will certainly help draw the right kind of attention.

If you’re trying to write a good job brief to fill a position, here’s what you need to pay attention to:

1. The content

Start with the basics: what anyone needs to know about the job you’re offering. These are the building blocks of your brief. The key areas you want to include are: the general purpose and objectives of the role, the qualifications, experience, and personal qualities you’re looking for in a candidate, and the key competencies that are necessary to fill the position.

Some useful guidelines to follow:

  • Role: It’s all-too-easy to end up describing the current employee that’s working in this role. Don’t do that! Instead, think in a more abstract way’ what are the requirements of the job itself?

  • Simple facts: What are the actual, day-to-day responsibilities of this position? Be careful not to under- or overstate the needs you address. Stay clear and factual.

  • Analytical perspective: Would you want to apply to a job that looks like a monotonous, dull list of tasks? Probably not. So, instead of typing down that list, change the perspective: write about the functions of the role you’re trying to fill. How does it all fit in the grand scheme of the organisation?

2. The responsibilities

This is a hugely important section: it describes what key tasks and goals the person in this position will carry out. Candidates will take a look at this part of your brief and decide whether or not they’re interested.

How to do it right?

  • Stay objective and concise.

  • Use active, exciting, descriptive verbs. Not ‘in charge of’ but analyzing, writing, solving, etc.

  • Logic first: keep the order of the list natural’ though not necessarily according to importance.

  • Keep it short: don’t type down more than 10 bullet points in this section.

3. The objectives

This part of the brief states why the job you’re offering is important. What function does it serve in the organisation as a whole? Why does it even exist?

Here, show your appreciation to your future candidate by presenting the role as a relevant one. Everyone is interested in being valued! Be expressive but don’t exceed 3 or 4 bullet points.

4. The experience

Experience is, of course, a key ingredient for a good candidate. But it’s not a good idea to look at it from a ‘how many years’ perspective. Why? It might come across as age discrimination and it could deprive you of many a qualified employee that chooses not to apply because of under- or over-qualification.

It’s easy to solve this: shift your focus to a competency-based model. What kind of experience should your ideal candidate have?

Make sure that any qualifications you ask for are truly necessary to fulfil the job and state that you will consider experience and qualifications that are different but equivalent.  Quality is always more important than quantity!

Simple Pro Tips

A few little things can take your job brief from unremarkable to enticing. Keep these in mind:

  • Don’t use specialist or internal jargon’ replace it with simple words everyone will understand.

  • Explain what all acronyms and abbreviations mean.

  • Avoid making age or gender a requirement.

  • Keep the tone engaging and don’t ever exceed the two pages mark.

After you’ve addressed every one of the points in this list, you’re ready to write a stellar job brief.

Remember: keep the tone interesting and put yourself in a job seeker’s boots: what would you want to read? You’ll have the perfect candidate knocking at your door in no time!

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