How to write an effective job description

Writing a job description sounds simple, but it’s an area that can be make or break for getting your job advertisement in front of the best-fit talent. It’s even more important now that the job search is increasingly digital, where search terms come into play too. Here’s our checklist for writing an effective job description.

1. Use industry-standard job titles

Today, job titles can vary wildly from organisation to organisation. Some organisations take an irreverent approach (Chief Customer Happiness Officer). Others are more traditional. It is important that you use an easily identifiable job title in your ad, however, as this is what your ideal candidates will be searching for. So, use industry standards to help more people find it. You can still inject that sense of fun into the copy in other ways.

2. Use simple language to explain what’s involved

Of course, you want your job to sound appealing, but it must give the candidate clarity on what they will actually be doing. Simple, clear language will help people find your job using common search terms (and understand what it is when they get there!).

3. List the key responsibilities as bullet points

Bullets are great because they keep things concise. The key here is to use verbs at the start of each point. This provides clarity on what part of the task they will be responsible for (e.g. managing, analysing, writing) and allows them to imagine themselves actively doing the job.

4. Use ‘required’ and ‘preferred’ judiciously

These are some qualifications that are legally required, such as in healthcare or education. However, for some jobs, ‘requiring’ a qualification is more about ensuring the candidate has the desired skills and knowledge. So, if experience could more than bridge the gap of a degree in your industry, it’s worth considering using ‘preferred’ rather than ‘required’ so you don’t miss out on top talent.

5. Include the salary and benefits

Including the salary in a job ad can be a contentious point. However, according to LinkedIn research, whether salary is included on the ad impacts the decision to apply for 91% of candidates. And it makes sense. Without a salary, you are asking people to apply without knowing whether the job will work for them on the most practical of levels. This can lead to a waste of their time and yours.

6. Provide an indication of your culture

While we’ve talked about standardisation and simple language in a few points, it’s also important to inject a sense of who you are. You can do this through your language choice, as well as by stating your approach to hybrid work and flexibility, social events, etc. This is where you make them want to work for you.

7. Avoid cliches

You have limited space to attract candidates, so don’t waste it by saying you want a hard-working high performer. No one is actively looking for a low-performing candidate. If it goes without saying, it can likely be left out.

8. Be inclusive

Diversity, equity and inclusion are high on the radar for most organisations today, and job advertisements are one of the ways your business can actively live this value. Language choice and accessible design are key when it comes to inclusion, and there are some great resources provided by the Australian Government’s IncludeAbility initiative here.

9. Edit and proof

It’s always a good idea to ask someone else to proof and check your job ad. And if you aren’t doing the job yourself but someone in your organisation is, ask them to check it and give you suggestions to ensure it’s an accurate portrayal.

About the Author
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Jenny Lloyd

Founder/Director of Connections
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