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CareerBuilder’s 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Creating More Effective Job Postings

The “if you build it, he will come” mantra may have worked for Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, but as many hiring managers know, it takes more than just writing a job posting to attract your dream team. I recently spoke with CareerBuilder Senior Product & Operations Manager David Clark, an expert in search engine optimization and job advertisement content, for insight into how employers can write job postings that truly generate A players. Drawing from his years of client success, Clark offered the following tips for more effective job postings:

  1. Do: Choose relevant job titles and keywords. Advertising for a “Sales Rock Star” or “Software Ninja” may seem like a way to stand out, but your job postings will wind up getting buried in organic searches. Optimize your job titles for search, and save the fun, creative stuff for the description itself. The right keywords will also serve to optimize your job posting for search engines like Google.
  2. Do: Make your job ad aesthetically pleasing. Include logos, video and other imagery where appropriate. The average job seeker will give more attention – about a minute – to a branded job posting, and around two minutes looking at a job posting that includes a recruitment video. Also, choose bullets over long sentences or blocks of copy when listing out factors such as job requirements, desired skills and benefit information.
  3. Do: Set clear expectations. This means including potential deal-breakers (such as significant travel time or potential overtime hours) as well as success factors. After all, if you want to hire successful people, start by defining what success in that particular role looks like. Setting clear expectations with candidates from the beginning will get a better fit in the end.
  4. Do: Cut out the fat. The average job seeker spends fewer than 30 seconds reviewing a job posting. Though it’s crucial for candidates to understand the role and expectations surrounding it, brevity is key to capturing their attention. Keep the content of your job posting brief by highlighting only the most important and unique pieces of information.
  5. Do: Employ the “real estate rule.” With so much to say in such limited space, location of text is everything in your ad. Put the most important information at the top of the ad, followed by pertinent details about the role itself. The most engaging and interesting content should fall above the fold to capture candidates’ attention and compel them to read further.
  6. Don’t: Ignore compensation. It should come as no surprise that salary plays a major role in a candidate’s decision to accept a job offer or even apply, so if you know you offer competitive compensation, say so. If you don’t, talk about what you can offer instead in terms of benefits or culture. Does your company offer advancement opportunities, the chance to learn new skills, take on interesting projects, travel or set their own schedules? Though salary is important, CareerBuilder research has found that candidates are willing to accept a lower job offer it means working for a company with an attractive culture.
  7. Don’t: Forget to sell. Once the candidate understands the role, it’s time to sell them on the opportunity and the company. Write engaging, brochure-like verbiage in your ad. Two questions can help with this step: “What will candidates love about this job?”  and “What do employees say they love about your company?” You’ll be able to speak to your audience and get the right fit.
  8. Don’t: Try to be something you’re not. A perfect fit for Dell or IBM might not necessarily be a good fit at your company and vice versa. Be honest about who you are as an employer and what your culture is like, and the wrong candidates will weed themselves out, making the right candidates that much easier to spot.
  9. Don’t: Leave out potential deal breakers. If a job requires lots of travel, for example, make sure you communicate this, as it could factor into a candidate’s decision to apply for the job.
  10. Don’t: Be afraid to ask for help. Creating an engaging job ad is not an easy task: Finding a balance of content that is both informational and engaging is a challenge. After all, you have very little space in which to include a lot of information – and on top of that, you want it to be interesting and engaging for the reader. CareerBuilder’s Job Optimization solution helps companies create better job ads that get more traffic and bring in more of the right candidates. This year alone, Job Optimization helped clients see an average of 26 percent more traffic and 74 percent more applications. Learn more about Job Optimization here.
Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
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