how to write a job advert - proactive personnel

How to Write a Job Advert That Attracts the Best Candidates

A well-crafted job advert is crucial to attracting the best candidates for a job vacancy. Whether you’re looking to hire an entry-level employee or a seasoned pro, a great job advert can make all the difference. You’ve probably come across some bad ones, and some really bad ones. But, we’re here to give you the top tips on how to write a job advert that resonates with the masses. 

In this post, we’ll cover:

  • What is a job advertisement? 
  • The key elements of a job advert that will attract top candidates
  • An example of how to write a job advert that you can use for your own ads 

What is a Job Advertisement?

A job advertisement is also known as a job posting or job ad. It’s a communication tool that companies use to attract suitable candidates for a job vacancy.

In it’s simple form, it’s informative text that helps companies find candidates for the job. A job ad highlights key information about the role, the company culture, and the required qualifications of the successful candidate. 

A job advert can take many forms, such as: 

  • An online posting on a job board
  • An email
  • A print ad, or 
  • A flyer

Job ads typically include: 

  • A job title
  • A brief description of the role
  • The salary and benefits
  • The company’s name and location, and 
  • Details on how to apply. 

The job ad should provide a clear and concise summary of the job, requirements and responsibilities, location, salary, as well as any necessary qualifications or experience required for the role.

A well-written job advert can make the difference between attracting the best candidates or being left with a pool of unqualified applicants. This means that the job ad needs to accurately represent the role and the company culture

To do this, companies need to define their target audience. They should also tailor their language and tone to appeal to the right candidates. The use of inclusive language is also crucial to avoid excluding certain groups of people and to create a welcoming environment for all applicants.

Define Your Target Audience and Consider Tone of Voice

Defining your target audience is a crucial step in crafting a job advertisement that attracts the most qualified candidates. The target audience for a job advert is the group of people who are most likely to have the skills, experience, and values necessary to excel in the role. By identifying and understanding this group, companies can tailor their job advertisements to appeal to the right candidates and improve the quality of their applicant pool.

The process of defining your target audience involves a deep understanding of the role, skills, experience, and values necessary for success. This includes conducting a job analysis to identify the essential job functions, responsibilities, and required qualifications. It’s also important to understand the company culture and the values that align with the role. This will help to ensure that the job advert accurately represents the business. 

Once you’ve defined a target audience, you can tailor the language and tone to appeal to the right candidates. Using appropriate industry jargon (sparingly), highlighting key responsibilities, and emphasising the benefits of the role, are all key elements. A job advert that speaks directly to the target audience can attract more qualified candidates and reduce how long you spend sifting through inappropriate candidates. 

Remember Your Audience is Mobile-First 

You should be mindful that an overwhelming majority of job-seekers search for jobs on a mobile device, so optimising your job advert for mobiles, is essential. You should prioritise: 

  • Bullet-pointed lists
  • Shorter sentences and paragraphs, and 
  • A healthy amount of white space (the space between sentences and images on a webpage)

Remember that one line of text displayed on a desktop, is the equivalent of approx. six lines on a mobile device. Therefore, you should keep your text to no more than 30-40 characters per line. Your job ad needs to be as scannable as possible when a candidate is quickly reading it for the first time. 

Craft a Compelling Job Title

Crafting a compelling job title is an essential step in writing a job advert, as it’s the first thing that potential candidates will see. And, it can significantly impact their decision to apply for the role. A good job title should be clear, concise, and accurately reflect the position. 

You should avoid unnecessarily long job titles, as these can often mislead candidates or even stop them from applying altogether. For example, you wouldn’t list the job title “Principal Health, Safety, Environment, and Quality Control Officer” when all you need is a Health and Safety Officer. 

The process of crafting a compelling job title involves understanding the essential functions of the role and the qualifications and experience necessary to perform it successfully. It’s important to use straightforward and familiar language that candidates can easily understand. 

Also, think about what people will search for on job boards. Especially if you plan on listing your job ad with sites such as Indeed or CV Library. This is where a tool such as Google Trends will come in handy. 

Google Trends allows you to compare two or more search terms. In this case: job titles. For example, if you’re hiring a Warehouse Operative, you could compare search terms such as: 

  • ‘Warehouse Operative’, or 
  • ‘Stores Person’, or 
  • ‘Warehouse Picker’. 

By spending five minutes on this task and choosing the most popular job title, you could dramatically increase your applicant rate. 

Create a Clear and Concise List of Duties

When writing the main body of your job ad, there’s a simple formula to follow if you want your advert to stand out on the saturated job boards. 

Candidates want to know about the company they’re applying to, including its goals, values, and work environment. Include information about the company’s culture and values to give candidates a sense of what it’s like to work there. Use examples to illustrate how the company’s culture aligns with the job opening. 

Example: “Last year we sent our sales team to Paris for a weekend and we regularly provide travel discounts for great employees who travel abroad during their annual holidays.”

You should always use simple language to describe the job responsibilities, avoiding overuse of technical jargon or acronyms that candidates may not understand. Highlight what sets the job apart from other similar jobs and include a list of qualifications and experience required. 

Also remember that a job ad is not the same as a job description. You don’t need to detail every aspect of the role.  A job ad should simply explain why a candidate should apply for a role. Whereas a job description is an internal document, against which the successful candidate will be measured. 

A job ad that’s easy to understand can attract more qualified candidates.

Include Salary and Benefits

Candidates are typically looking for two major components when skimming through a job ad: 

  1. The salary, and 
  2. How easy it is to apply. 

Statistics show that just over 14 million people in the UK are millennials, making up a good chunk of the job-seekers out there. A recent study by Reed discovered that 48% of millennials will automatically develop unfavoured opinions toward companies that don’t include salary information.  

It’s also important to remember that pay transparency in job adverts is likely to attract more women and minority candidates to your role. And, it can help towards achieving pay equity and closing the gender pay gap within your business. 

Another major red flag for younger people is an application process that consumes a lot of their time. Asking for a CV and a cover letter is standard practice, but forcing candidates through long-winded questionnaires and asking them to input everything on their CV manually is a big turn-off. Avoid doing this at all costs. 

Finally, let your candidates know what to expect next. No-one likes hanging around forever to find out whether or not their application has been selected for the next stage. You can make this process much easier for your potential candidates and therefore attract more of them to apply.

By simply stating at the end of your job ad how they should apply and what happens next, you’ll help to manage everyone’s expectations. 

Example: “Send your CV and cover letter to for immediate consideration. We’re hoping to hire for this role by 1st July. Whilst we’d love to respond to everyone, if you don’t hear from us within 10 working days of your application, it means we’ve been unable to consider your application at this stage.”

The main points to remember when crafting the perfect job ad, are: 

  • Give a brief description of your company
  • List the duties and responsibilities of the role
  • Clearly mention the benefits, including the salary or salary range, and
  • Clearly indicate how to apply and what to expect next.

Use Inclusive Language in Your Job Advert

It’s crucial to use inclusive language in job adverts to avoid discriminatory words or phrases, and welcome candidates from all backgrounds. 

Using exclusionary language can discourage qualified candidates from applying for the job, leading to a less diverse applicant pool. It can also create a negative impression of your company and culture, which can harm your employer reputation and make it harder to attract top talent in the future.

The process of creating an inclusive job advert involves being mindful of the language and phrases that you use. It’s important to consider neutral language and avoid using gender-specific pronouns or titles. You should also use language that’s accessible and easy to digest. This will ensure that all candidates, regardless of their background or education level, can understand the job requirements and responsibilities.

Some great examples of using inclusive language can be switching up job titles like: 

  • Salesman >> Salesperson 
  • Policeman >> Police Officer
  • Stewardess >> Flight Attendant 
  • Barman >> Bartender 
  • Fireman >> Fire Fighter 

Additionally, using gender-coded words, runs the risk of alienating some candidates. So, unless this is your intention, try inclusive word swaps, such as:

  • Competitive (masculine) >> Motivated or goal-orientated 
  • Polite (feminine)  >> Professional
  • Strong (masculine) >> Capable or resilient 
  • Ambitious (masculine) >> Career-focussed 
  • Detail-orientated (feminine) >> Meticulous 
  • Collaborative (feminine) >> Team player 

Job Advert Example

Below we’ve provided a job advert example which collates and employs everything we’ve discussed in this article. Feel free to use this template for your own job ads. 

Job Title: Digital Marketing Apprentice

Company: XYZ Furnishing

Company Location: Cheshire, UK

Salary: £22K – 24K DOE

Job Location: Remote or Hybrid 

We’re looking for a Digital Marketing Apprentice to join our team at XYZ Furnishing on a full-time basis. At XYZ Furnishing, we make office furniture that lasts. Our comfortable seating and modern, design-led desks are used in some of the largest, well-known companies in Europe. 

We value innovation, creativity, and teamwork. Our company culture fosters an environment that encourages employees to take initiative, co-operate with others, and grow both personally and professionally.

What You’ll Be Doing… 

As the Digital Marketing Apprentice, you’ll report to our Head of Marketing and work with the team to identify our target audience and develop strategies to engage them. You’ll be responsible for tasks like:

  • Creating social media campaigns
  • Developing email marketing campaigns
  • Tracking and analysing website traffic with Google Analytics
  • Creating blog frameworks for our content writers
  • Updating our website and social media platforms
  • Planning press releases for our new furniture ranges and partnerships

What You’ll Need to Succeed…

The ideal candidate has a degree in marketing, communications, or a related field. Other marketing qualifications (or equivalent experience) are accepted and given merit accordingly. You should have some experience in Canva, WordPress, and Mailchimp, though we provide full training if required.

This is a full-time, permanent position working a 37.5-hour-a-week, Monday to Friday. 

What’s in it For You?

We totally understand that not everyone works well in an office, which is why we’re happy to receive applications from candidates who wish to work remotely, or on a hybrid basis.

You’ll also receive:

  • 23 days holiday + bank holidays
  • Your birthday off
  • 15% off all international travel through EasyJet
  • A company laptop, and
  • Excellent pension benefits.

To apply for this role, send your CV and cover letter to 

We’re hoping to hire for this role by 1st July. Whilst we’d love to respond to everyone, if you don’t hear from us within 10 working days of your application, it means we’ve been unable to consider your application at this stage.

We look forward to hearing from you!

We hope this has given you an insight into how to write a job advert. To recap: 

  • Define your target audience to ensure you attract the right pool of candidates
  • Use simple, clear and concise language
  • Choose a job title that candidates will clearly understand 
  • Use neutral language and avoid gender-coded words and phrases 
  • Optimise your job ad for mobile applications 
  • Clearly but briefly explain the duties of the role – don’t go into too much detail as this can be off-putting
  • Always include the salary and benefits

By following this guidance, you’ll create a job advert that stands out from your competitors and attracts the widest pool of candidates. 

Haven’t got the time to create a compelling job description? Get an expert to do it for you. You can place your vacancy with Proactive Personnel and we’ll take the hard work out of finding the perfect candidates.