How to Write Great Job Descriptions

Job descriptions are an inevitable part of the recruiting process. It is critical for employers to think deeply about what they are looking for from their ideal candidate and how those needs translate onto the page. There is no doubt that the internet has made the application process faster, but at the same time the finesse of a well-written job description can be lost in the race to get something posted. SEO and keywords have further influenced the shape and flow of the classic job description. Too often, employers are writing job descriptions without thought toward who they are writing to and what the goal of the listing is. Don’t let yourself fall into the bad habit of writing poor job descriptions. Here are some tips that will help you make them great.

Know Your Audience

Before you even write the first sentence of a job description, you should know who you are writing to. If your answer is simply “job applicants,” you are not being targeted enough in your approach. Take a moment or two to get into the mind of your ideal applicant. Are they interested in certain aspects of this job? Would they find your benefits package particularly appealing? Why do they think your company is a better fit than the competition? Think like a job candidate and approach your writing of the description in a way that will appeal to them. Also consider how your ideal candidate might like to receive this information. You might decide that posting on your website isn’t enough to connect with a targeted audience. Consider posting to social media, via mobile app, or some other method to reach your audience faster and more effectively.

Be Detailed

One problem we come across often with unsuccessful job descriptions is vague and unspecific content. An employer may be so eager to get a job listing posted that they forget to include all the details that make this particular job so unique and exciting. Take the time to be detailed in your writing. Include as many details about the actual job that you can. This is what candidates are really looking for. If you are able to identify the role and responsibilities clearly and in an engaging way, applicants will be more interested and excited to apply.

You can ensure you are being as detailed as needed by describing both required and preferred qualifications (including education, certifications, and years of experience). Tell readers what your expectations for the position are, and how you see this opportunity growing in years to come. Describe the benefits of working for your company, and don’t limit yourself to financial compensation. Talk about the office culture, the work environment, and how your company values its employees. It’s often the details that catch the eye of a discerning candidate. Don’t be afraid to be thorough.

Write to Engage

It’s important to remember that job descriptions are like marketing material. You are essentially advertising your company as a place of employment, and therefore you will need to present the opportunity in an engaging and interesting manner. Putting the extra time and thought into the language or medium used to advertise an opening will help get your job description the attention it deserves.

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