How to Write a Job Advertisement

JobAdTitle1

Editing decisions take into account the type of text involved and whether there are conventions of layout, content and language usage (such as style, tone and vocabulary) that need to be respected.

This post shows my recent edits of a job advertisement. You’ll see a ‘before’ version, an ‘after’ version, and an edit-by-edit commentary.

Some of my edits might seem subtle and unlikely to make much difference, but there are sound reasons for all of them. The editing considerations I describe are relevant for a wide range of texts, not just job ads. I hope the commentary helps you to review and improve your own work. Please read on …

Example – editing a job advertisement

The employer is a successful national real estate agent. The drafted ad. began with a couple of sentences that identified the company and established its exceptional reputation. The following extract is the subject of this post.

Job ad. extract – before editing

The ideal candidate must be a passionate communicator, work well with a KPI driven team but most of all, be willing to constantly learn and push themselves to the next level. They must have proven experience in delivering online projects and a passion for emerging technologies.

This full-time role is suited to someone who values autonomy, taking responsibility and working for a greater sense of purpose. Our small but highly successful team works remotely from different locations around Australia with quarterly planning retreats, overseas travel and are always looking for the next step to be the best they can be so the successful candidate can be located in South East Queensland, Sydney or Melbourne.

Job ad. extract –  with hints

Here’s the same extract where I’ve underlined some of the bits I changed. Before reading about my edits, you could take this opportunity to practise your own editing skills. What would you change, how and why?

The ideal candidate must be a passionate communicator, work well with a KPI driven team but most of all, be willing to constantly learn and push themselves to the next level. They must have proven experience in delivering online projects and a passion for emerging technologies.

This full-time role is suited to someone who values autonomy, taking responsibility and working for a greater sense of purpose. Our small but highly successful team works remotely from different locations around Australia with quarterly planning retreats, overseas travel and are always looking for the next step to be the best they can be so the successful candidate can be located in South East Queensland, Sydney or Melbourne.

Edit-by-edit Commentary

The tables below allow you to directly compare the text ‘before’ and ‘after’ my edits. Finally, there’s a copy of the final version of the job ad. below the tables.

Most of the edits fall into one of two groups.

1. Use of more formal, ‘business’ vocabulary

This increases the credibility of the text by more clearly positioning it within the established business domain. The use of certain words and phrases from the discourse of business immediately signals to readers the type of text it is, and prepares them to make sense of it and respond accordingly.

The edits in this group also add specific detail to the job ad. This ensures that the qualities, abilities and attitudes of the ideal applicant are stated clearly. The job ad is more likely to attract the right sort of candidate if the requirements are explicit.

VocabTable22. Use of more effective sentence structure

The edited sentence structures are ‘more effective’ in that they highlight the writer’s intended meaning and engage readers by addressing them personally.

SyntaxTable1

Two other edits are worth mentioning as general tips on how to improve your writing.

3. Be consistent: ‘the team is’ or ‘the team are’?

Words like ‘family’, ‘government’, ‘jury’ and ‘team’ are known as collective nouns because they refer to more than one person. It’s grammatically correct to use either a singular or a plural verb with a collective noun.  For example, both sentences in the following pairs are correct:

  • The family next door is on holiday.
  • The family next door are on holiday.

and

  • The sales team is recruiting a technology expert.
  • The sales team are recruiting a technology expert.

In the draft job ad., the collective noun ‘team’ is used with both a singular verb (‘our team works remotely’) and with a plural verb (‘our team … are always looking’).

Consistency is important in establishing your credibility as a writer. Decide whether you’re going to use singular or plural verbs with collective nouns, and stick to it.

Other areas where consistency is important include the writing of times, dates, figures and US or Australian spelling.

4. Avoid unnecessary repetition

Repetition

Job ad. extract – after editing

The ideal candidate must be a passionate and effective communicator who has a proven ability to work efficiently within a KPI-driven team. Above all, you must possess a proactive willingness to learn and be motivated to develop, refine and advance your skills and abilities continuously. You must have proven experience in delivering online projects, and a demonstrable enthusiasm for emerging technologies.

This full-time role is suited to a person who values autonomy, is able to take responsibility in their role, and works with great focus and a strong sense of purpose. The successful candidate will join the highly-motivated members of [business name’s] small, dynamic and successful team who work remotely from locations throughout Australia. You will be located in South East Queensland, Sydney or Melbourne, and enjoy regular overseas travel and quarterly planning retreats.

 ~

If you’re ever writing or editing a job ad., I hope these tips will help you directly. But whatever you’re writing, please bookmark this post, and come back to refer to the examples.  Consistent expression and your choice of vocabulary and sentence structure may be key for your text.

I’d love to know whether you’ve learned anything new from this post.

What other aspects of writing or editing are challenging for you, or frustrating? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll be glad to help. It’s what I do!

And as always, feel free to share with friends and colleagues who may benefit or find this post interesting.

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Comments

  1. I love how you show the examples of the suggested changes. It really brings more power to the written word. We’re hiring right now, so this is great timing! Thanks for sharing!

    • Awesome, Sarah. Thanks for the feedback about showing examples – it really helps to know what my readers find useful. And, of course, let me know if I can help with your job ad.!

  2. Brian Green says:

    I can hardly wait to apply for my next position. Thank you. Brisey

  3. Gee that’s a big difference made… I thought I liked the unedited edition and can see the improvements quite clearly.
    Nice job

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