How to Write a Job Ad That Excites Candidates

Job_Description.jpg

As a direct response copywriter, I specialize in making readers take a specific action. I write a variety of copy, including articles, landing pages, sales emails, and job advertisements.

In fact, I’ve written hundreds of job ads over my career, as one of my first gigs was for a big employment website, where I created several ads a day. Ads that had one ultimate purpose: to compel readers to hit the “APPLY NOW” button.

My job was to make people want to press that button. My words were supposed to make them feel excited about the prospect of being in the role they were reading about. If I could do that, consistently, I was lightning in a bottle.

To get better, I read direct response copywriting books and hand-copied successful sales letters. And my job, naturally, provided me with plenty of practice. Then, one day, I opened an email from my boss: “Your visitor-to-application conversion rate is twice what it was this time last year,” read the note. “Nice work.”

This article is about how I achieved that conversion rate. Keep reading to learn the strategies and best practices I used to grip candidates, exciting them enough to take action.

How to Write a Job Ad

You want to write a job ad that consistently drives candidates to fill out an application. Of course, you also want qualified applicants, people that meet your requirements.

Here’s how to attract the right people to your open position:

1) Study your target candidate.

You might’ve heard that people buy on emotion first, and then rationalize their purchases using logic.

Applying for a job, in that sense, is a lot like making a purchase. Pressing the “APPLY NOW” button is an emotionally charged decision.

When writing your job ad, tap into those emotions by learning everything you can about your target candidate (i.e., the person you want to be interviewing). What are his or her professional goals and aspirations? What makes him or her happy?

Create a target candidate persona, or a composite of your ideal employee. (Download these buyer persona templates to get started.) Use the information you acquire to make potent promises that 1) you know you can keep and 2) your target candidate wants to hear.

2) Mind your SEO.

Every day, the job hunt leads millions of people to search millions of keywords. So, yes, relevant keywords are still important, especially when writing job ads.

In your quest to be unique and desired, don’t make up a new, creative name for an established role. In other words, don’t call your open content marketing position an “Attention Ninja” or “Audience Crafter.”

Call it what it is: a “Content Marketing Specialist.” If you’re in the B2B space with clients all over the world, for instance, add a few more adjectives: “Global B2B Content Marketing Specialist.”

Post the position under a recognizable, keyword-friendly title because that’s what candidates will be searching.

3) Follow a scannable, digestible format.

Before candidates settle into your ad, they’re first going to scan it. And if it’s not formatted using big, bold, clear, and concise subheads to make the scanning process effortless, they’ll move on.

The easier your ad is to scan, the more likely it is to garner attention. Attention that ultimately leads to action.

Open your ad with a “Company Summary” paragraph followed by these subheads, or sections, in this order:

  1. Overview
  2. Benefits
  3. Requirements
  4. Responsibilities

Here’s a breakdown of each section along with example paragraphs that, when combined, will form a “Content Marketing Specialist” job description for Security Software Co., a shamelessly made-up company:

a) Open with a benefits-rich overview.

Every ad must start with a concise description, or overview, of the role. It should be snappy and compelling — and it’s clear, quick explanation of the role should be complemented by the job’s big-picture benefits.

General Electric, for example, did a nice job with the latter in their branding campaign commercials.

People inherently want to be part of something bigger than themselves. Appeal to that desire by helping candidates envision the impact of their work. 

For example, if you’re hiring a software developer, explain the mark that software will leave on others. Will it help them beat traffic? Will it help them communicate better with their family? Will it help them get clean drinking water every day? Be specific. The more specific you are, the more compelling your message will be.

Example:

As the Content Marketing Specialist for Security Software Co., you’ll create articles, infographics, and eBooks that build an engaged audience. Your goal will be to drive thousands of people to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on LinkedIn. Your success will expand Security Software’s global reach – helping millions of parents protect their children from online predators – while simultaneously developing your personal brand as a foremost expert in our space.”

b) After the overview, lead with even more benefits.

Now that you have the candidate’s attention, draw him or her deeper into the ad with a section dedicated to your company’s benefits package, a topic employees care about. But know, there’s a correct way and a wrong way to write a benefits bullet …

Use examples to help candidates envision the benefit, not just read it. Like this:

  • The wrong way: “Heated parking garage.”
  • The right way: “Arrive and leave work comfortably, thanks to a heated garage.”

Example:

At Security Software, we ask a lot of our employees, which is why we give so much in return. In addition to your competitive salary, medical/dental/vision plan, and matching 401(k), we’ll shower you with perks, including:

  • Dress: Wear anything you like to the office – and be as comfortable at work as you are in your own living room.

  • Flexibility: Two days a week, feel free to skip the commute and hit your deadlines from home.

  • Food: Save hundreds of dollars on food each year thanks to our well-stocked, healthy kitchen.

  • Location: On the days you

    are in the office, get here quickly thanks to our highly accessible central location.

  • Wellness: Stretch away the stress every morning in our in-house yoga studio.”

c) Keep your requirements clear and concise.

This section will be your ad’s most sterile, so don’t close with it. Stick it in the middle, sandwiched between two sections that highlight promise and opportunity.

Keep your list of requirements only as long as it needs to be. You don’t want to scare great candidates away with extraneous requisites. You also don’t want to engage and inspire unqualified people with a shortlist.

Example:

Not everyone can be a Content Marketing Specialist. To be seriously considered for the role, please have the following in regards to:

  • Experience: At least 3 years in a similar role with comparable goals and responsibilities (security and/or software background,

    preferred).

  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in English, Marketing, Communications, or a similar field,

    preferred.

  • Skills: You

    must be an excellent writer, someone who understands how to frame a message in a clear, concise, and compelling way. You

    must also understand the mechanics of an efficient, effective Marketing Automation campaign (HubSpot experience,

    preferred).

  • Characteristics: This is an autonomous position, so you should be self-sufficient and self-motivated. It’s also a creative role, so you must be able to gracefully receive criticism and feedback about your work.

d) Use strong verbs to describe responsibilities.

Responsibilities are the job. They’re the work, the paycheck. That said, responsibilities can also generate excitement and promise in a passionate candidate.

Begin each bullet with a unique, yet fitting, verb. For example, the role doesn’t “manage” people, it “shapes” them; the role doesn’t “oversee” projects, it “enables” their success. See the difference? One word can offer a fresh perspective, altering the reader’s frame of mind.

Example:

As Security Software’s sole Content Marketer, you’ll meet the initiative’s strategic needs on your own, experimenting, learning, and adjusting as you go. Throughout your journey to grow our brand’s audience and reach, you’ll be responsible for:

  • Sculpting informative, entertaining, digestible articles that audiences can’t stop reading.

  • Designing beautiful, rich infographics that are as engaging as they are shareable.

  • Publishing easy-to-skim, value-driven eBooks for download in exchange for business-email addresses.

  • Crafting persuasive, laser-focused landing pages that compel your target audience to take one valuable action.

  • Purchasing targeted ad spend on well-performing social media platforms.

  • Pulling prospects through each stage of our marketing funnel, gradually warming them up for a productive conversation with sales.

The Final Product

Here’s what our example job ad for Security Software Co. looks like when stitched together (plus a standard “Company Summary” paragraph plugged in at the beginning):

Content Marketing Specialist

[company summary]

OVERVIEW:

As the Content Marketing Specialist for Security Software Co., you’ll create articles, infographics, and eBooks that build an engaged audience. Your goal will be to drive thousands of people to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on LinkedIn. Your success will expand Security Software’s global reach – helping millions of parents protect their children from online predators – while simultaneously developing your personal brand as a foremost expert in our space.

BENEFITS:

At Security Software, we ask a lot of our employees, which is why we give so much in return. In addition to your competitive salary, medical/dental/vision plan, and matching 401(k), we’ll shower you with perks, including:

  • Dress: Wear anything you like to the office – and be as comfortable at work as you are in your own living room.
  • Flexibility: Two days a week, feel free to skip the commute and hit your deadlines from home.
  • Food: Save hundreds of dollars on food each year thanks to our well-stocked, healthy kitchen.
  • Location: On the days you are in the office, get here quickly thanks to our highly accessible central location.
  • Wellness: Stretch away the stress every morning in our in-house yoga studio.

REQUIREMENTS:

Not everyone can be a Content Marketing Specialist. To be seriously considered for the role, please have the following in regards to:

  • Experience: At least 3 years in a similar role with comparable goals and responsibilities (security and/or software background, preferred).
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in English, Marketing, Communications, or a similar field, preferred.
  • Skills: You must be an excellent writer, someone who understands how to frame a message in a clear, concise, and compelling way. You must also understand the mechanics of an efficient, effective Marketing Automation campaign (HubSpot experience, preferred).
  • Characteristics: This is an autonomous position, so you should be self-sufficient and self-motivated. It’s also a creative role, so you have to be able to graceful receive criticism and feedback about your work.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

As Security Software’s sole Content Marketer, you’ll meet the initiative’s strategic needs on your own, experimenting, learning, and adjusting as you go. Along your journey to grow our brand’s audience and reach, you’ll be responsible for:

  • Sculpting informative, entertaining, digestible articles that audiences can’t stop reading.
  • Designing beautiful, rich infographics that are as engaging as they are shareable.
  • Publishing easy-to-skim, value-driven eBooks for download in exchange for business-email addresses.
  • Crafting persuasive, laser-focused landing pages that compel your target audience to take one valuable action.
  • Purchasing targeted ad spend on well-performing social media platforms.
  • Pulling prospects through each stage of our marketing funnel, gradually warming them up for a productive conversation with sales.

APPLY NOW

The Final Thought

This ad, for all intents and purposes, is a generic example. It’s designed to illustrate, at a high level, the techniques that make candidates feel something when they read a job ad. That said, it’s important to first use your knowledge of the role to create an accurate ad, one that reflects your company’s culture and specific needs. Then use the tips above to build excitement.

Good luck — although something tells me you have this one in the bag.

What tips do you have for writing effective job descriptions? Share them in the comments.

free marketing job description templates

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s