How to Write a Great Want Ad

Want to write a job ad that gets noticed? Here are eight simple steps:

  1. Use a killer job title — Add the top one to three things that will make the job attractive to an applicant.
  2. Include an emotive introduction — In a single paragraph, give three to five details that make the job exciting. It’s the hook to reading the ad.
  3. Briefly tell about your company — Include how many years you’ve been in business, how long employees stay (which shows that people stick with you) and notice-worthy clients and projects. Briefly list awards, accolades and work culture facts.
  4. Really sell the position — Limit your “sell” to one to three requirements essential for the job. Also provide information on work hours, pay, notice-worthy co-workers, educational opportunities and other benefits or perks.
  5. Push your location — Is your location an easy commute? Spell it out in actual minutes. This may attract candidates who want to cut their traveling time. Also offer details about schools, activities and crime rates.
  6. Repeat why they should apply — Provide a quick bullet-point recap of the top five reasons to apply to the job.
  7. Have others read it — Get feedback; fix any errors before you post the job to hundreds of job boards.
  8. Improve your email responses — A poor first response to a candidate application will undo the good work you did in the job ad to get them to apply.

Don’t confuse job ads with job descriptions. A job description should detail the responsibilities and expectations. A job ad sells applicants on your company, team, location and all the things that make working for you great. That’s what you should be posting to job sites.

Sell the job by using:

  • A title that catches the applicant’s attention.
  • A paragraph that summarizes the most interesting points of the job.
  • Tidbits about your company, such as the job, location and equipment/gear that draws applicants’ attention.

More savvy advice

Know who the members of your target audience are, and address them in language they understand. Let’s face it — you want to avoid being inundated with applications from people who are completely unsuitable for the role. Improve the quality of your responses by writing an advertisement that targets the appropriate audience.

Who are the members of your target audience? What are they doing now? What steps are they taking to look for a new opportunity?

Your job ad needs to speak directly to them. It should be a carefully crafted message with the aim of attracting the best-qualified candidates for your job.

That means the ad should contain:

  • A catchy job title.
  • Clearly articulated essential qualifications and desirable skills.
  • No exaggerations.
  • Challenges, not rewards, to attract those with drive and ambition, rather than applicants just looking for an easy ride.
  • An actual description of the job.
  • A profile of the ideal candidate.
  • The key skills, core competencies and most relevant success measures.

Don’t forget to provide a way of applying for the job — email address and maybe even a phone number. Ask for a cover letter.

Be aware that especially in online ads, an average of four times as many people read the short description than actually click through the ad itself, so put some effort into what you write. You want the best candidates to press “Apply Now.”


Our firm provides the information in this e-newsletter for general guidance only, and does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation. The information is provided “as is,” with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.

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