The top dos and don’ts of job advertising

When it comes to advertising your  vacant role, regardless of whether it’s for a PA or a managing director, there are a few basic dos and don’ts.


  • Keep it simple, relevant and clear. Make sure that the job description explains exactly what the role will involve and gives an outline of the role or job purpose. Try and include an enticing ‘hook’, such as a great location or reporting to the managing director. Mark Rhodes, marketing director at online job board, notes: “Make the job advert easy to read: use simple language and avoid jargon, company-specific or very technical language unless absolutely necessary.”
  • Be aware that an attractive job title can win or lose applications. For example, a project co-ordinator sounds considerably more interesting than an administrative assistant. Cathy Richardson, regional director for the Institute of Recruitment Professionals (IRP) in the south east of England, says: “Change a job title to be descriptive of the role to get maximum impact. A powerful, specific first line is what candidates will see first online so make it count.”
  • Capitalise on your brand. Include your company name if it is well known or a large, local employer with a good reputation and mention any awards the company may have won recently. Any details about the size of the company, if it’s a market leader etc will also attract more candidates.
  • Include details about salary and any other perks, such as a good pension, free car-parking, 25 days holiday and any other benefits. Keep in mind that job advertisements with salaries always receive a much better response.
  • Include a brief candidate profile in the advert, ideally expressed in ‘”second person” to engage with your target audience and emphasising any key character traits and skills that you are looking for. Also include any qualifications or experience you require. For example: “You will have excellent networking skills and have at least three years’ experience in a management role.”



  •  Scrimp on detail. Include as much relevant information as possible, such as a job description, salary or salary guide, location, ideal-candidate profile, contact details and some basic information about the company.
  • Use lots of technical, complicated language, even if you’re advertising a specific, niche role as this could deter potential candidates. If, however, you are looking to attract a very specialised and select group of jobseekers, they should be able to understand a few technical terms.
  • Make sure that you don’t undersell your company. If you can’t offer an especially competitive salary then make sure you make the most of everything else, such as a positive working environment, career progression, Investors in People or any other quality accreditations etc.
  • Don’t forget to make sure you check spelling and grammar and general syntax. Don’t use obscure or misleading headlines and ensure that the advert is easy to read and includes all the necessary information.
  • Don’t try and use quirky or colourful fonts or extravagant lay-outs.





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