Job adverts – how to write them

Use one headline and make the job relevant and clear.  It could simply be the job title itself which is what people are looking for.  If the job title doesn’t describe the job, then a use a bold strapline to catch attention. If the job title is hard to understand, then give the job a more understandable title.  

If the organisation is well known and has a good brand or reputation, use the brand or name prominently.

Make the advert easy to read. Use simple language that your readers understand and avoid complicated words.  Use space round text to attract attention.

Use short sentences of 15 words or less.

Use bullet points and short paragraphs.

Use simple type-styles such as Arial or Times, or your house-style equivalents or variations. Serif fonts (like Times) are more traditional and more readable. Sans serif (like Arial) are more modern-looking, but are less easy to read especially for a lot of text.

Use 12-18 point-size for headings and avoid capitals in headings as they are hard to read. CAPITALS HAVE NO WORD SHAPES. Use ten, eleven or twelve point-size for the main text;  Avoid italics, shadows, weird colours as none of these improve readability. Use black text on a white background for maximum readability.

Get the reader involved by referring to the reader as ‘you’ as this helps people to visualise themselves in the role.

Try to say something new or different to create excitement.

Emphasise what makes your job and organization special.

You must include a call to action ie send a CV, call this number, get an application form etc.

The best position for adverts on a job page is top right corner as your eye is naturally drawn right on turning over the page.

Resist the temptation to buy a half-page or a full page – a quarter of a page is adequate in most publications. Big adverts do not necessarily produce a big response and you can run a smaller advert more often to get a bigger exposure ie use your resources more efficiently.  


How to design and write job adverts

The best techniques are the same as for all other advertising. The job is your product and the readers are your customers so you need to attract attention, create interest and desire and then get people to apply for the job. The advert needs to be succinct, appealing and clear in order to get the right people to apply. Design should be clear so you portray a professional image. Branding should be there but not dominate.

Things to avoid:

  •  Over-designed graphics and extravagant layout
  • Difficult to read eg font (type-style) too small or too large
  • capital-letters (upper-case)
  • Lots of words in italics – which are more difficult to read quickly
  • Use of silly colours, tints against a coloured, patterned or picture background or writing over images
  • Clever or obscure headlines
  • Too much technical details about the job or the company
  • Too many words – they are a real turn-off – keep it simple
  • Boring descriptions of roles and ideal candidates
  • Too much emphasis on the job and not enough on the person
  • Weird advert shapes eg for example wide and flat or tall and thin

back to the Roaring Twenties

F Scott Fitzgerald, writer of The Great Gatsby, introduced the word “wicked” as a term of approval. Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of the film opens later and kicks off the Cannes Film festival.

‘Wicked’,’t-shirt’, ‘teenagers’ and ‘mass media’ are also phrases from the Roaring Twenties which came into the language due to the influence of the jazz age on 1920s America. Other words coined include  “wimp”, “junkie” and “mock-up”.

The decade saw the end of prohibition and this spared dozens of terms for being drunk including “squiffy”,”tanked”, “blotto” and “plastered”. Still some of these words for inebriation have been lost such as “spifflicated”.

In 1922, the year the film is set, “Hollywood”, “sexiness” and “transvestite” were all recorded for the first time as well.

Sweet tweets or tweet retreats!

Mistakes can cost you your job, your relationship and lots of money. Social media provides a public platform that make gaffes very visible at speed.

Tweet something silly and you could become a viral campaign of the very wrong kind – the difference between ending up ‘red’ or ‘read’.

Twitter mistakes to avoid

  1. Don’t tweet from your work’s account, when it should have come from your personal account.
  2. Never tweet insensitive things eg deaths or bad things about where you work.
  3. Don’t tweet at 4.30am when no one else is awake
  4. Don’t post aggressively as it makes people feel uncomfortable
  5. Don’t tweet with spelling mistakes or you’ll look like a numpty
  6. Don’t be vague eg “This is terrible!” with no explanation – include a link to an article or picture so people can understand.
  7. Retweet other people’s good posts – give some to get some.
  8. Be catchy and catch people’s interest by being relevant, funny, newsworthy
  9. Tweet throughout the day. Don’t just tweet in one burst or you become irritating and people may unfollow you.